"FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA) REQUESTS"
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA) REQUESTS First, what is releasable? FOIA requests are not required for release of: • Publications, soil surveys, brochures; • Job sheets; • Press releases; and • Permanent directives, including manuals, handbooks, General Manual parts, technical notes, technical releases, and material from the FOTG, such as standards and specs, soil data, resource management systems, cost-return data, and non-copyrighted references. • An owner/operator/producer can see their OWN owner/operator/producer file. • Names, addresses and payment information. (This information is not releasable for applications, only for payments.) What is generally not releasable? Any information provided to USDA by a producer to participate in USDA programs is not releasable. This includes: • Any information covered under the Privacy Act – Name, SSN, DOB, POB, Financial Information, etc. (Information listed in the PII Presentation or protected under 1619.) • Names, addresses or other information on program applicants. • Geospatial information when it concerns land which a producer has provided info to participate in USDA programs is covered under 1619. This includes maps, surveys, and charts. Aerial photos may be included if they contain identifying characteristics of the agricultural land. Would use Exemption 3 of FOIA. Authorized Disclosure • May release information to a person or federal, state, local, or tribal agency working in cooperation with any USDA program when: – Providing technical or financial assistance and have signed the Conservation Cooperator Certification, (including TSPs); or – When responding to a disease or pest threat as authorized by the Secretary What do I do if I get asked for information? Determine whether the information is readily available to the public. If so, treat this as a routine request and not a FOIA request. The entity responsible for the data should be the one to respond to a requester. For example, NRCS performs technical assistance on CRP. However, FSA administers the CRP Program. Therefore, all requests for CRP information or data should be referred to FSA. What do I do if I get asked for information? (Cont.) There are circumstances where information can be released. That is why all FOIA requests must be reviewed on a case by case basis by the FOIA Officer. If you receive a request and you are just not sure what to do, simply tell the requester to put their request in writing to the FOIA Officer Tell the requester to be very specific as to the information they are asking for. Then, the FOIA Officer can take it from there. For more information, see GM Title 120, Part 408, Subpart C. THANK YOU! FSA FOIA Officer: NRCS FOIA Officer: Rick Kelley, FOIA Officer Elana Cass, FOIA Officer FSA State Office NRCS State Office 317-290-3200, Ext. 213 317-290-3200, Ext. 336 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org E-mail: email@example.com