Map of agriculture protection laws across the country. Credit: Google Fusion Tables

In the spirit of Sunshine Week, the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting looked at the laws in place or under consideration that impact reporting on the agriculture industry.

Since the 1990s, the agriculture industry has used various pieces of state-level legislation such as “Farm Protection” and “Agriculture Disparagement” laws to limit media.

Farm protection or “ag-gag” laws are crafted to limit access to agriculture facilities, and specifically restrict the use of audio and video recording of working agriculture operations.

Agriculture disparagement or “veggie libel” laws are designed to limit what media, and individuals, can say about agriculture products and production practices.

Now there are at least 30 states considering laws that limit the use of drones for news reporting.

A Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting analysis found there are nearly 40 laws now under consideration – more than double from the 16 laws in place today.

Sunshine Week is a national initiative to spotlight the importance of open government and freedom of information.

The following map shows the number of states considering or have enacted farm protection laws, agriculture disparagement laws or laws monitoring the use of drones.

The darker the red, the more laws the state has passed or is considering.

Click on each state to see the laws in place or under consideration and to see how much in agriculture produce sales estimates.

Sources: Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting analysis; U.S. Department of Agriculture Survey 2012; American Civil Liberties Union

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