Producer information under wraps — for now

by Erica Shaffer
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WASHINGTON – A US District Court in Minnesota granted a stay on the release of personal information about farmers and ranchers. The ruling is the most recent development in a case against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) sued the EPA in 2013 after animal welfare groups requested EPA data under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). But in January, US District Judge Ann Montgomery dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that the information the plaintiffs sought to protect is easily available through other sources such as the Internet.

AFBF and NPPC filed an appeal on Jan. 29. The order of protection on producer information will remain in place during the appeal process.

“We are pleased that farmers’ and ranchers’ personal information will be protected while we appeal the court’s decision,” said Bob Stallman, AFBF president. “We disagree that the Internet age has diminished the individual’s right to protect personal information. Now, more than ever, citizens need their government to help protect their information—not gather it, tie a bow on it, and send it out to anyone who asks.”

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