The Indiana General Assembly passed a bill this week to protect farm operations from trespassers. While it doesn’t contain language on taking pictures or videos, it does have tough penalties on damages and trespassing. The legislation has been sent to Indiana Governor Mike Pence for his signature.
According to an article on the Food Safety News website by Dan Flynn, Senate Bill (SB) 101 gives “agricultural property the same protection against trespass that’s now afforded to schools, churches and private homes. Trespass and do damages of more than $750 to agricultural property, and the offender will be charged with a felony carrying jail time of up to three years. Damages of $50,000 or more mean a felony conviction that could result in eight years in state prison.”
The bill passed the Indiana Senate by a vote of 41-5 and passed the House by a vote of 73-25. It is similar to Indiana’s statute against railroad trespass. SB 101 specifies who is authorized to be at agricultural production facilities and considers anyone not on the list to be trespassing.
According to the news article, a separate bill, SB 186, gives Indiana farmers the right to use all generally accepted farming practices and new technologies, and the Hoosier agricultural lobby seems satisfied with what it has accomplished this session.
“By supporting these bills (SB 101 and 186), our legislators have shown their support for Hoosier agriculture and the vital role it plays in our state’s economy,” said Dave Lowe, president of the Indiana Soybean Alliance. “Our state agricultural organizations have worked hard to ensure our lawmakers have the right information to make sound decisions for our farm families across the state,” he added.