Public interest law firm launches food project to take on corporate ag
This week, the public interest law firm Public Justice announced the rollout of a national food project that will unite attorneys and communities across the country to work on cases that involve agribusiness. The announcement comes as concerns about the power of corporate agriculture are growing, from the heartland to Capitol Hill.
Environmental groups sue to challenge North Carolina right-to-farm expansion
Four environmental groups filed a constitutional challenge on Wednesday against recent amendments to North Carolina’s “right-to-farm” laws. The suit takes on two state laws, passed in 2017 and 2018, that limit residents’ ability to file nuisance suits against large-scale livestock farms and the …
The farm industry is pushing for tighter right-to-farm laws across the country. What does that mean for farm neighbors?
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.
After Nebraska governor steps in, community board OKs a Costco-linked CAFO
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)
‘Right to farm’ is a state issue, says Senate Judiciary chairman
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.
Jury awards hog-farm neighbors $473.5 million in nuisance lawsuit
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.
North Carolina lawmakers override veto to pass Farm Act
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.
North Carolina governor vetoes right-to-farm expansion
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.
Advocates ask North Carolina governor to veto right-to-farm law
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.
North Carolina legislators move to tighten right-to-farm law
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.
Iowa court will rule on residents’ right to sue farms
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.
Twenty-nine states make it illegal for counties and cities to pass seed laws [UPDATE]
With little notice, more than two dozen state legislatures have passed “seed-preemption laws” designed to block counties and cities from adopting their own rules on the use of seeds, including bans on GMOs. Opponents say that there’s nothing more fundamental than a seed, and that now, in many parts of the country, decisions about what can be grown have been taken out of local control and put solely in the hands of the state. (No paywall)
In South Carolina, poultry industry seeks to eliminate barriers to expansion
A bill in the South Carolina legislature would make it significantly harder for residents to challenge the state’s expanding poultry industry. If lawmakers pass the bill, South Carolina will be the latest in a series of states to make it harder for rural communities to resist or even carefully regulate large-scale livestock farming.
Colorado case bolsters Right to Farm laws
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.