Missouri House OKs Restricting Public Access to Farm Data

Feb 23, 2016

Credit David Shane / Flickr

The Missouri House has passed legislation restricting public access to some government data on farms and ranches.

Lawmakers voted 104-49 Monday to exempt state agency data on animal health and the environmental impact of farms from open records laws. The bill now heads to the Senate.

Bill sponsor Rep. Jay Houghton said some farmers are reluctant to participate in a government disease tracking program because proprietary information could become public. He said limiting the access to that data would encourage more producers to take part in the program, which would make the food system safer.

Rep. Tracy McCreery said the public relies on sunshine laws to hold powerful entities accountable. She said limiting public access to the data would protect irresponsible farmers while casting suspicion on respectable ones.