Imagine you live on your family’s farm, which has been in your family for generations. The nearby city keeps on growing and soon you find new neighbors next to your fields. One evening, after a long day driving the tractor and running a manure spreader, your phone rings. Your new neighbor is not happy about the smell of manure drifting from your fields onto her property. Soon thereafter, you find yourself a defendant in a lawsuit claiming that your farm is a nuisance and seeking the court prevent you from farming.
Unfortunately, these stories are not imaginary. In the 1980’s, after a flood of urban sprawl, these types of issues were popping up across the country. Recognizing that this was a major threat to American agriculture, state legislators began taking action. Soon, all 50 states had passed “Right to Farm” laws. Although the specific details differ in each state, these laws provide an affirmative defense to agricultural producers facing nuisance lawsuits.
Recently, some states have been introducing constitutional amendments attempting to protect traditional agricultural practices from harmful legislation. These amendments, which have been passed in Missouri and are under consideration in Nebraska and Oklahoma, are also called Right to Farm Amendments.
On April 4, 2016 at 11:00 CST, the University of Maryland and Texas A&M University will host a free webinar to discuss these laws and surrounding issues. The presenters, Paul Goeringer, Ashley Ellixon, and Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, will explore recent court decisions involving traditional right to farm laws, recent legislative amendments to these laws, the basics of the new constitutional amendments, and potential issues to expect in the future.
Register for the webinar at http://go.umd.edu/RTFWebinar. The webinar is free to attend and will be recorded for those unable to attend.