The Associated Press March 16, 2011, 5:12PM ET

Idaho House panel: Keep some dairy records secret

How dairies manage their cows' waste would be secret under a measure that cleared the Idaho House Agricultural Affairs Committee.

Wednesday's bill to make dairies' nutrient management plans of dairies exempt from disclosure under the Idaho Public Records Act goes to a House vote.

The Idaho Dairymen's Association contends an activist group, Idaho Concerned Area Residents for the Environment, has abused the records law to harass dairies.

Bob Naerebout, the Dairymen's Association's director, says any violations found during dairy inspections would remain public, just not the waste management plans.

But the activist group's Alma Hasse fears the Department of Agriculture will use this change to protect the industry at the expense of public health by blacking out details that help her group determine if nutrient management plans are actually being followed.

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