Iowa Has New Ag Trespass Law

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has signed into law the ag trespass bill passed by the legislature earlier this week.

The bill creates a trespass charge for anyone using deception to gain access to a farm with intent to cause physical or economic harm.

“Untrained, unapproved and unwanted items or people entering farms put farmers and the economy of the state at risk,” Reynolds said. “This law will improve the security and safety of Iowa farmers by criminalizing the entrance of…individuals who use deceit to enter farms and intend to cause harm.”

The new law is designed to replace Iowa’s previous “ag gag” law, which a judge ruled unconstitutional, saying it violated free-speech rights of undercover investigators. Eldon McAfee, an attorney representing the Iowa Pork Producers Association, says the new law is more narrowly focused than the previous one.

“This law is patterned after a law in Idaho that was found to be constitutional by a federal appeals court,” McAfee says. “What we are trying to prevent is people using false pretenses to cause us harm. That’s what we can do under the law and make that a crime—and that’s what this law does.”

(from Brownfield Ag Network/Radio Iowa)