DES MOINES – The Iowa legislature passed a bill on Feb. 27 making it a crime to obtain access to agricultural facilities under false pretenses. The bill has been sent to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad for approval.

A person could be found guilty of agricultural production facility fraud by obtaining access to an agricultural production facility by false pretenses and/or knowingly making a false statement as part of an application or agreement of employment at an agricultural production facility.

Under the provisions of the bill, conviction on a first offense is an aggravated misdemeanor punishable up to a year in jail and a fine of $625-$6,250. A second or multiple convictions would be treated as class "D" felonies, punishable with up to five years imprisonment and a potential fine of $750 to $7,500.

(Read Bryan Salvage's blog on animal welfare.)