Arizona Farmers and Ranchers:
Farmers and ranchers across the United States, including Arizona, have been affected by a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). As reported in an American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Public Policy Bulletin on February 12, 2013, EPA's FOIA response to these groups produced a CD that included data gathered by EPA from 30 state agencies with state jurisdiction over livestock and poultry operations regarding producers within those states. When AFBF learned of EPA's action, they requested and have since received a copy of the records released.
The records include facility name, owner/contact, physical address, phone, type of business, animal type and even Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) class (small, medium, large or unknown).
Please be aware that, while the records released by EPA have not (to our knowledge) been published more broadly, that could happen at any time. In addition, it is likely that Earthjustice or NRDC or others will use these records to compile one or more searchable databases of information on livestock and poultry producers. AFBF will work to keep state Farm Bureaus informed of any such developments as they learn of them. AFBF is also working with national livestock and poultry groups to assess the lawfulness of EPA's action and to minimize the future distribution of this information - particularly any personal information on farmers and ranchers or their families or employees.
Please share this information with your colleagues in the business. If they are in the livestock business they have a right to know what information has been distributed to Earthjustice and NRDC about Arizona's CAFOs. Due to the fact that physical addresses were released, be aware that it gives people an opportunity to appear at your facilities without invitation.