S.268 – An act relating to the right to farm

Bill Post Update: The Committee of jurisdiction did not pursue this bill past its first reading.

Location: House Committee on Agriculture and Forestry

Last Recorded Action: Senate 1/18/2022 – Read 1st time & referred to Committee on Judiciary

Sponsor(s): Sen. Corey Parent, Additional Sponsors Sen. Randolph Brock, Sen. Robert Starr

Subject: Agriculture; court procedure; right to farm; nuisance

Statement of purpose of bill as introduced: This bill proposes to amend the right-to-farm law to provide that a farm or farm operation shall not be found to be a public or private nuisance under one or more of the following: the farm or farm operation existed before a change in the land use or occupancy in proximity to the farm, and if before that change in land use or occupancy of the farm, the farm or farm operation would not have been a nuisance; the farm or farm operation alleged to be a nuisance conforms to State and federal law; or the farm or farm operation has been conducting the agricultural activity at issue for two or more years prior to the date a nuisance action is commenced. The bill also would provide that if a farm or farm operation prevails in a nuisance suit brought against it, the court shall require the plaintiff to pay the actual amount of costs and expenses incurred by the farm or farm operation in defense, including attorney’s fees.

(Of concern for protecting water quality from runoff: this bill addresses adding protection from “nuisance lawsuits” for a host of “farm operations” including all those activities defined as “agricultural activity” and all of the following such as the generation of noise, odors, dust, fumes, and other associated conditions; the ditching and subsurface drainage of farm fields; the handling of livestock wastes and by-products; the on-site storage and application of agricultural inputs, including lime, fertilizer, organic materials, conditioners, and pesticides; the use of alternative pest management techniques; the management, storage, transport, utilization, and application of farm by-products, including manure or agricultural wastes, etc.)

Read the Bill as Introduced (8 pages)

Track the Bill’s Detailed Status