Farmers Push to Protect Rights

Farmers across the country are pressuring state legislatures to codify a right to farm in state law and state constitutions.

For the past several decades, farms across the country have found themselves under attack from expanding urban and suburban development. The concentration of more and more agricultural production in the hands of large-scale agribusinesses, in addition to the growth of cities, has only increased the pressure put on American farmers.

With farm operations and suburban life jutting up against one another, tensions in several states have increased. Many farmers have found themselves sued by their neighbors for dust pollution, unpleasant smells, noise concerns, and other nuisances.

In response to these lawsuits, some states have passed right to farm laws. Montana, the most recent state to pass such a law, codified the right to farm in its state constitution. The amendment essentially says that farming, when done responsibly, is not a nuisance. It severely limits the rights of neighborhoods to sue farmers for nuisance complaints.

Despite the complaints of some local residents, many farm advocates and rural politicians argue that farm production is a vital economic concern and needs to be protected from lawsuits and suburban growth.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer