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Real Estate -- Agricultural Nuisance Lawsuits

 
Increasingly, urban and suburban areas encroach upon agricultural operations, specifically hog and chicken farms. Conversely, farmers have also expanded their operations and disgruntled neighbors have filed "nuisance lawsuits" against farmers and ranchers.

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pig farmMost U.S. states have enacted the "Right to Farm Act"â€"a statute that protects established farms and ranches from these lawsuits. But the operative word in this statute is "established." As well, The Right to Farm Act only protects farmers and ranchers whose operation was in existence and has not expanded its operation after the neighbors moved into the neighborhood.

Furthermore, in each state, the state Commissioner of Agriculture sets out criteria that specify the Best Management Practices. A farmer and/or rancher must comply with the criteria in order to receive protection from nuisance lawsuits.

Definitions
"Farm nuisance dispute" means a claim that the farming activity of a farm resident constitutes a nuisance.

"Farm resident" means a person holding an interest in fee, under a real estate contract, or under a lease, in land used for farming activity when that person manages the operations on the land.

"Farming activity" means the cultivation of farmland for the production of crops, fruits, vegetables, ornamental and flowering plants, and the utilization of farmland for the production of dairy, livestock, poultry, and all other forms of agricultural products having a domestic or foreign market.

"Nuisance" means an action that is injurious to health, indecent, offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property.

Nuisance Action
"Nuisance actions" are considered a supplement to regulation and litigation under the environmental laws. To determine unreasonable use of property (that would constitute a nuisance) usually means whether or not the defendant's use of the property is "unreasonable" under the circumstances. Did the particular use pre-exist before the neighbor complained? Has the defendant expanded the operation and/or property and is it encroaching on the complainant's property?

If the answer to either of these questions is "yes", you may want to consider taking legal action to stop or "abate" a public nuisance. A private nuisance may be stopped, or "abated," by a legal action usually brought by a private property owner against an adjacent property owner.

Farm Nuisance Articles

Sleepless on the Farm
It has been a long time since Tim Wilson and his wife got to sleep in. Every morning around 4am the neighbor's two dozen or so roostersâ€"just outside their bedroom windowâ€"give them a wake-up call. The rooster crows have turned into a frustrating farm nuisance.

Poultry Farm Nuisance: Nobody Crosses the Road
"I will never get used to this," says Maureen Holmes. "I'm surrounded by chicken houses and my kids can't even play outside." For Maureen and her family, these chicken houses are more than a poultry farm nuisance; they have interfered with their quality of life.

Farm Nuisance: Too Close for Comfort
Farm Nuisance: Living Near Poultry Factory
Factory Farms: Air Pollution and the Threat of Bird Flu
Factory Farm Pollution: Neighbors Turn to Lawsuits
Hog Wash: Animal Waste Sparks Tempers and Lawsuits in Midwest
Scientists: Factory Farm Neighbors Face Health Risks
Factory Farms: What Can Be Done?
"What Stinks?" It's the Factory Farm


Farm Nuisance in the News

JUL-30-07: Megafarms in Michigan have become a source of contention for lawmakers and a nuisance to neighbors. State senators are introducing a five-bill package to obtain more control over animal factories. [DETROIT NEWS: FARM NUISANCE]

JUL-17-07: Groundwater contamination near animal factories is increasing, posing a potentially serious drinking water problem for residents living near hog and poultry factory farms. [NRDC: FARM NUISANCE]

JUN-20-07: The city of Clay is fighting with chicken farms surrounding the community over complaints of odors emanating from the farms. [JOURNAL-ENTERPRISE: FARM NUISANCE]

Farm Nuisance Legal Help

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Last updated on Oct-22-09


LEGAL ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS

Sleepless on the Farm
It has been a long time since Tim Wilson and his wife got to sleep in. Every morning around 4am the neighbor's two dozen or so roosters—just outside their bedroom window—give them a wake-up call. The rooster crows have turned into a frustrating farm nuisance [READ MORE]

Poultry Farm Nuisance: Nobody Crosses the Road
Poultry Farm Nuisance: Nobody Crosses the Road Parrotsville, TN: "I will never get used to this," says Maureen Holmes. "I'm surrounded by chicken houses and my kids can't even play outside." For Maureen and her family, these chicken houses are more than a poultry farm nuisance; they have interfered with their quality of life [READ MORE]

Farm Nuisance: Too Close for Comfort
Evansville, IN: "We live in an agricultural community but there's no reason why someone has to build turkey houses right across the street from us," says Jamie H. Her family now has to deal with yet another poultry farm nuisance [READ MORE]



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