Oklahoma Farmers Fear Release Of Personal Info

Wednesday, July 24th 2013, 6:20 pm
By: Karl Torp

Local farmer fears their personal information could end up in the wrong hands thanks to a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Earlier this year, the EPA released the personal information of farmers in 29 states after getting requests from environmental groups.

The information included details like names, addresses, property size, and number of animals.

When the EPA was going to release the same information in six additional states, including Oklahoma, it was sued by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

"We believe disclosing the information, which includes farmers' phone numbers, home addresses, and GPS coordinates, violates the privacy rights that the federal Government is supposed to protect," Danielle Quist with the American Farm Bureau Federation said.

Quist says the EPA says it will stop fulfilling FOIA requests until the matter is resolved in court.

Quist say the information being given out does not include the inner workings of the EPA. "All it tells you about is the personal information of citizens."

Local farmers fear if the information gets into the wrong hands, they could become targets.

"If they get the information, what's to stop them from coming after us, just because they don't like us" asked Canadian County farmer Robert Hubbard.

The AFBF says the information could be used to target farmers for theft or equipment sabotage, especially for those who use fertilizer and chemicals.