AFBF and the National Pork Producers Council have closed the final chapter of their lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s release of farmer and rancher personal information, when a federal judge approved a settlement that secures the private information of thousands of livestock and poultry farmers in 36 states.
“This lawsuit has won a major victory for personal privacy,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Months ago, we won a court decision that vindicates the rights of farmers and all Americans to protect their personal information from dissemination by the government. This settlement is the final step, requiring that EPA scrub all personal information from the records involved and train its staff on the proper handling of personal information.”
AFBF and NPPC filed the lawsuit in 2013 after EPA released a vast compilation of spreadsheets containing personal information about farmers and ranchers in 29 states who raise livestock and poultry, in some cases including the names of farmers, ranchers and sometimes other family members, home addresses, email addresses, GPS coordinates and telephone numbers. EPA was poised at that time to release more spreadsheets containing similar information on farmers in an additional six states.