How are farming operations protected against nuisance claims?

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2023 | REAL ESTATE LAW - Land Use & Zoning

Agricultural operations are a vital part of the U.S. economy, especially in the state of Texas. However, there are times when these operations can become a source of contention, leading to nuisance claims. Thankfully, farmers and their operations may be protected under the Texas Right to Farm law.

What are nuisance claims?

Nuisance claims refer to legal actions brought against individuals or entities alleging that their activities or use of property have negatively affected the use and enjoyment of another person’s property. These claims typically revolve around interference with the quiet enjoyment of one’s property and can take various forms, including:

  • Noise pollution
  • Odor disturbances
  • Airborne particles
  • Water runoff
  • Trespassing issues like branches crossing property boundaries

These claims often arise when there are operations on an agricultural farm. Property owners may seek remedies or damages to mitigate these adverse effects on their well-being.

How are farmers and their operations protected?

Under this Texas Right to Farm law, if a farm in Texas has been running for over a year before someone files a lawsuit against it, the law helps protect the farm from certain complaints. This protection continues if the issues people are complaining about haven’t significantly changed since the farm started.

Notably, the law considers any physical expansion of the operation as separate and carries its own established date. Additionally, building barns, pens, fences or storage buildings on farmland should not cause any problems unless there are laws against it when the farmers build them.

Farmers may also be able to recover all their expenses spent defending against the claim if they prove they are under the law’s protection.

Exceptions to the law

Although the Right to Farm law helps protect farms, it does not protect them if they break state, federal or local laws. Also, it does not stop the government from stepping in to keep people safe or protect the environment.