Every state has a “right-to-farm” law on the books to protect farmers from being sued by their neighbors for the routine smells and sounds created by farming operations. But this year, the agriculture industry has been pushing in several states to amend those laws so that they will effectively prevent neighbors from suing farms at all — even massive industrial livestock operations.
Last week, a Nebraska county board reversed its decision to block a poultry CAFO from coming to a small town. The reversal came soon after Gov. Pete Ricketts had expressed his support for such operations and challenged the county to better serve farmers. It also arrives as a new piece of right-to-farm legislation aims to restrict lawsuits against farming operations. (No paywall)
Although leaders of two national farm groups called for a federal shield to protect farmers from lawsuits by neighbors, chairman Chuck Grassley of the Senate Judiciary Committee said on Tuesday that states should decide land use questions. "At least at first blush, based upon states' rights—I could be maybe convinced otherwise—right now, I'd have to stick to what is a pretty general philosophy that I have on being against federal land use, both from the standpoint of what can be done and what can't be done," said Grassley, from Iowa, the top hog and egg-producing state.
A federal jury awarded six neighbors of industrial hog farms in North Carolina $473.5 million in damages on Friday. The lawsuit is the third so far on the waste-management practices of Smithfield-associated hog farms in the state. Earlier verdicts have awarded plaintiffs about $75 million.
On Wednesday, the North Carolina General Assembly overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto to pass into law the Farm Act, which expands the state’s right-to-farm law. The law now greatly restricts farm neighbors’ ability to bring nuisance lawsuits against farm operations for air, water, and soil pollution.
Governor Roy Cooper vetoed a controversial bill that would have made it nearly impossible for neighbors of factory farms to sue farming operations for negative quality of life and health outcomes associated with living near large livestock confinements.
Several national and local advocacy groups are calling on North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to veto a bill that would greatly restrict the public's ability to sue large-scale animal farms over negative health and environmental effects. The state general assembly passed the bill on Friday.
In the wake of a jury verdict that awarded millions to the neighbors of industrial hog farms in Duplin County, North Carolina, the state’s Senate Agriculture Committee approved language that would make it more difficult to bring similar “nuisance” lawsuits in the future.
A case heard by the Iowa Supreme Court on Monday could have a dramatic effect on whether communities can sue factory farms that move into their neighborhoods. The case was brought by a group of community members against a pair of hog confinement operations run by Valley View Swine and JBS.
A lawsuit between two neighbors in Colorado could set a precedent for Right to Farm laws, which seek to make it harder to sue family farms, across the country.