Two senators on Tuesday introduced legislation aimed at protecting farmers and ranchers by prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency from disclosing their private and confidential information to the public. Senators Joe Donnelly and Chuck Grassley introduced the Farmer Identity Protection Act after the EPA earlier this year released the personal and private information of many livestock and poultry owners from across the nation.
Sensitive information including names, phone numbers and email addresses of the farmers and ranchers, their spouses, and employees on these farms or ranches was made available to the public. Donnelly described the disclosure of personal contact information for more than 80,000 livestock and poultry owners nationwide, and said this blatant violation of privacy must never happen again.
Grassley said transparency is good for accountability but putting the personal information of these farmers makes no sense, and went on to say that it’s time for Congress to step in and fix the problem.
While the EPA has attempted to correct the error, this bill provides clear protections moving forward for farmers and ranchers across the country, limiting the EPA to disclosing information about farming operations only when all personally identifiable information is removed.