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North Carolina to Establish Permit Scheme for Manure Digester Systems

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has signed into law Senate Bill 605 which directs the state Environmental Management Commission to develop “a general permit for animal operations that includes authorization for the permittee to construct and operate a farm digester system.” The law will also allow preexisting swine farms to construct or renovate farm digester systems if doing so meets several requirements related to capacity and location. The law additionally addresses the formation of voluntary agricultural districts containing animal agriculture facilities to reduce nuisance liability and the scope of local agricultural advisory boards.

West Virginia Bill Would Expand Right to Farm Protections

West Virginia Senate Bill 339 would include storage facilities and urban agricultural operations within the types of agricultural operations that are protected from nuisance lawsuits under the state’s right to farm law.

PETA Files Endangered Species Act Citizen Suit against South Carolina Roadside Zoo

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and a group of concerned citizens sued the Waccatee Zoo and its owners, alleging that the unaccredited roadside menagerie has violated the federal Endangered Species Act and South Carolina’s public nuisance law by subjecting tigers, lemurs, and hundreds of other animals to abuse and neglect and by illegally selling lemurs and lion parts. The complaint includes photographs of emaciated and injured animals who reportedly were denied veterinary care. Plaintiffs seek declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, including a court order transferring all animals to “reputable facilities or sanctuaries that the Court determines are the most appropriate placement for the forfeited animals, consistent with the animals’ best interests.”

Fourth Circuit Affirms Smithfield Nuisance Liability

A Fourth Circuit panel has affirmed Smithfield’s liability to neighbors of its North Carolina hog farms, leading the company to settle all such nuisance suits. The concurrence has drawn particular attention for its condemnation of factory farming.

North Dakota Considers CAFO Odor Regulations

North Dakota House Bill 1115 proposes to limit the amount of noxious odors a concentrated animal feeding operation may discharge and forbid counties and towns from further regulating concentrated animal feeding operations.

Florida Considers Right to Farm Bill

Florida Senate Bill 88 would prohibit holding farms liable for certain tort claims and prohibiting nuisance actions from being filed against farm operations unless specified conditions are met.

Indiana Considers Amending Right to Farm Act

Indiana House Bill 17 would amend the state’s right to farm act to provide for guidance as to when an agricultural operation is negligent and to recognize that rights of established landowners should be considered and protected. It would also remove existing language about protecting “the rights of farmers to choose among all generally accepted farming and livestock production practices.”

New York Considers Establishing Right to Farm Within Agricultural Districts

New York Senate Bill 3191 would provide that the use or storage of manure within an agricultural district may not be deemed a public nuisance under local laws restricting farming operations.

Illinois Considers Allowing Service Members to Trap for Free

Illinois House Bill 1974 and House Bill 2618 would provide for exemptions from licensing or licensing fees for trapping for specified veterans and active service duty numbers.

Mississippi Considers Protecting Local Agricultural Operations

Mississippi House Bill 588 would prohibit any locality from regulating “animal husbandry practices” or direct to consumer sales of agricultural products and from requiring permits for the non-commercial raising of chickens, rabbits, or goats used for milk.