Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Judge Upholds Constitutionality of Indiana’s Right to Farm Law

Posted on July 20, 2014 by tdowell

Last week, an Indiana trial court upheld the constitutionality of the state’s right to farm statute  Amrstrong v. Maxwell Farms of Indiana Inc. [Read opinion here.]

The farm property at issue has been used continuously as a farm since the early 1900′s. Gary Foulke owns the property and the finishing barn sitting upon it.  Maxwell Farms began placing hogs in Foulke’s barn in June 2007.  Foulke then finished out the hogs, caring for them from the time they weigh approximately 50 pounds until they weigh approximately 260 pounds.  Plaintiffs Michael and Connie Armstrong moved into the area in 1985 and Larry and Jette Dugan in 1990.

In 2009, the Armstrongs and Dugans filed suit in Randolph Circuit Court against Folke and Maxwell Farms for nuisance and negligence.  The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment seeking to dismiss the nuisance claim pursuant to the Indiana Right to Farm statute.  In response, the plaintiffs claimed that the statute was unconstitutional.  Defendants also sought to dismiss the negligence claim based on a lack of evidence to prove such claim.

Indiana Right to Farm Statute

Like all other states, Indiana has a right to farm statute that provides a legal defense to agricultural operators against nuisance claims.  Indiana’s statute was enacted in 1981 in order to “conserve, protect, and encourage the development and improvement of [Indiana's] agricultural land for the production of food and other agricultural products” by “limiting the circumstances under which agricultural operations may be deemed to be a nuisance.”   [Read Indiana Right to Farm statute here.]

Read full post and court opinion

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