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Freedom to Farm

The Indiana General Assembly has declared that it is the policy of the state to conserve, protect, and encourage the development and improvement of its agricultural land for the production of food and other agricultural products. The General Assembly finds that when nonagricultural land uses extend into agricultural areas, agricultural operations often become the subject of nuisance suits. As a result, agricultural operations are sometimes forced to cease operations, and many people may be discouraged from making investments in farm expansion. Farmers have the right to farm in Indiana; however, many people have taken steps to deem farms nuisances.

Background:

  • Lawsuits against Indiana livestock farmers led by out of state tort lawyers who are claiming nuisance and trespassing on behalf of rural neighbors.
  • Local land use ordinances and zoning plans are being opened and changed to make it more difficult to raise livestock.
  • Increased regulations from environmental, transportation, labeling requirements, and labor laws and/or rules make it costly for agriculture to remain sustainable.
  • USDA has gone from taking 18 months to deregulate new biotech traits to nearly 40 months due to the threat of lawsuits by anti-gmo groups if the trait is deregulated.

 

Lawsuits

When the law making process does not give people the decisions they are seeking to hinder the growth of livestock, people have turned to the judicial system as a tool to stop growth and expansion in the livestock industry. Currently, 14 lawsuits are pending against livestock farmers on the grounds of nuisance. These suits are being led by an out of state lawyer who has won several tort cases against large livestock companies in other states. The threat of lawsuits will keep Indiana farmers from expanding or diversifying their operations.

 

Local Zoning

When non-agriculture citizens decide to move to the country, many times they are unaware of the sounds, smells, sights that come along with country life. The farmers across the state have run into neighbors who are concerned with the farm practices and the infringement on their property or lives. Because of this many counties have been asked to opening their zoning ordinances to reexamine setbacks for ag buildings and operations.

 

Increased Regulations

Corn and soybean farmers know that regulations are necessary and needed to ensure that people and the environmental are safe from harm. However many times regulations do not take into consideration the issues that farmers face when implementing them.

Examples of recent regulation reaches include:

  • The EPA trying to take actions to supersede state authority in the Chesapeake Bay and other watersheds, the use of flawed models that don’t reflect current agricultural practices and conservations results.
  • The Department of Labor has published a notice of proposed rulemaking to revise child labor regulations for young workers employed in agriculture. The DOL announced on February 1 that it would repropose a rule since there first efforts would make it nearly impossible for anyone under the age of 18 to participate in on farm work.
  • In California, Proposition 37 will be on the ballot this November. Proposition 37 would ban the sale of tens of thousands of perfectly-safe, common grocery products only in California unless they are specially repackaged, relabeled or made with higher cost ingredients. Prop 37 is a deceptive, deeply flawed food labeling scheme that would add more government bureaucracy and taxpayer costs, create new frivolous lawsuits, and increase food costs by billions — without providing any health or safety benefits. If this passes in California it would have grave implications across the country.  http://Noprop37.com
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