TheAmerican Farm Bureau Federation has responded to the tactics of three environmental activist organizations which have asked to intervene in a privacy lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency.
AFBF’s suit in federal court in Minnesota seeks to protect farmers’ and ranchers’ personal information from disclosure by EPA under the Freedom of Information Act.
While AFBF did not oppose the groups’ request to intervene in the case, it filed a response objecting to the false accusations about poultry and livestock farmers. AFBF also objected to the groups’ efforts to detract the court’s attention from the important privacy questions presented in the case.
“Instead of addressing important issues of whether farmers and ranchers are entitled to the same privacy protections for their homes that other citizens enjoy, these groups are trying to make this case into a referendum on whether livestock and poultry farmers are adequately regulated under the Clean Water Act,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.
“Their brief is filled with exaggeration and fabrication about how livestock and poultry farmers operate their farms and how they are regulated. Those statements have nothing to do with this case and are purely an effort to vilify family farmers in the court and in the press.”
AFBF filed suit in July to stop EPA from publicly releasing personal information about hundreds of individual farmers and ranchers and their families.
The organization is asking the court to clarify EPA’s obligation to keep personal information about citizens private when responding to Freedom of Information Act requests. The protection of information such as farmers’ and ranchers’ names, home addresses and GPS coordinates, phone numbers and email addresses is at stake.
Co-plaintiff National Pork Producers Council joined AFBF in its response to the court.
(Additional information can be found at AFBF files suit to protect farmers' privacy  and Legislation would prevent EPA from releasing livestock producer information ).