New York, like most states, has its own “right-to-farm” law. Unfortunately for neighbors that are complaining of activities that are due to farming, right-to-farm laws serve to protect qualifying farmers and ranchers from nuisance lawsuits filed by individuals who move into a rural area where normal farming operations exist, and who later use nuisance actions to attempt to stop those ongoing operations.
In New York, Section 308 of the NY Agricultural and Markets Laws (“AML”) outlines the procedure for an alleged agricultural practice that has become a nuisance.
- The commissioner will issue an opinion as to whether the agricultural practice is within an agriculture district and said practice is “sound”. “Sound agricultural practices” are defined as “those…necessary for the on-farm production, preparation and marketing of agricultural commodities. The commissioner may consult with Cornell Cooperative Extension and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (“NRCS”). Since much investigation goes into these claims, it can take six to twelve months for an opinion to be rendered in your case.
- Once the commissioner issues an opinion, a notice is published in a newspaper to give notice to the owner of the property on which the practice is conducted. This opinion is final.
- The person affected by the opinion may initiate a proceeding to review the opinion within thirty (30) days.
It is important to note that the outcome of the opinion does not bar the aggrieved party from seeking other remedies and recovering damages for personal injury. So, there are other potential avenues for recovery of damages.
If you are curious about previous opinions, you can visit this and see opinions related to cases from 1993 to 2016 regarding pesticide use, noise, water quality, livestock control, among other issues.
If you are facing a right-to-farm conflict, you could look to your own town’s or county’s right-to-farm laws. These are usually accessible on the government entity’s website. Rincker Law may assist you in locating and interpreting your local right-to-farm laws.
Right-to-Farm disputes in New York may also be mediated through the New York Agriculture Mediation Program (“NYSAMP”) at no charge. Cari is on the roster of mediators for NYSAMP and is available to mediate disputes involving production agriculture.
Are small sawmills protected under Rensselaer county right to farm law?