Lawmakers close to passing farm 'rights' bill

Capital Building Statehouse

Indiana lawmakers are moving closer to passing a farming bill that its opponents warn would undermine legal challenges against big agribusinesses.

Republican state Sen. Carlin Yoder of Middlebury contends his bill is needed to protect Indiana farmers from animal rights activists and others who he says are attacking the farming profession in courts.

His measure states in part that Indiana's policy is "to conserve, protect, and encourage" the development and improvement of agriculture.

But opponents say it contains language that would unfairly favor farmers in lawsuits such as those targeting industrial-scale livestock farms that produce large amounts of manure.

The Indiana Senate approved the bill last month and a House committee endorsed it Thursday, sending it to the full House for consideration as early as this week.

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