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Farmer privacy protect law introduced

Driven by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of personal and private data on thousands of livestock and poultry farmers to activist groups, Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Tuesday introduced the “Farmer Identity Protection Act” (S. 1343), which would restrict the EPA from disclosing such records again.

The legislation would allow EPA to provide data to outside parties only in aggregate or with a farmer’s approval. It would allow EPA to release farm information only when all personally identifiable information is removed. A portion of the information EPA freely distributed earlier this year to three environmental groups included names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of the farmers and ranchers, their spouses and farm employees.

The legislation would allow EPA to release farm information only when all personally identifiable information is removed. NPPC, along with the American Farm Bureau Federation, filed a lawsuit against EPA July 5, 2013, to prevent the agency from releasing information to additional groups.

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