Maryland’s Right-to-Farm law is designed to protect agricultural operations, such as dairy, grain, fruit, vegetables, and poultry, or traditional forestry operations, with an affirmative defense to nuisance suites. Right-to-farm laws are intended to discourage neighbors from pursuing nuisance lawsuits against farmers because of odor, dust, noise from field work, spraying of farm chemicals, slow moving farm equipment or other occasional effects of agricultural production.
Right-to-Farm laws provide a measure of security for the established farmer who practices sound best management principles in daily farm operation. These laws also put non-farming communities on notice that agriculture is a vital component of the region’s economy, character and culture. Right-to-Farm laws serve as an educational tool for rural residents who might be new to the area and unaccustomed to living near production agriculture. These laws establish methods by which new residents are notified that their home in the country is in close proximity to a living, working and sometimes fragrant farm.
The Maryland Right-to-Farm law applies to “agricultural operation” which is defined as “an operation for the processing of agricultural crops or on-farm production, harvesting or marketing of any agricultural, horticultural, silvicultural, aquacultural, or apicultural product that has been grown, raised or cultivated by the farmers.”
The law states that if an agricultural operation has been: 1Underway for a period of one year or more; 2Is in compliance with applicable federal, state, and local health, environmental, zoning and permit requirements related to any nuisance claim; and, 3Is not conducted in a negligent manner;
1The operation, including any noise, dust, or insects from the operation, may not be deemed to be a private or public nuisance; and, 2A private action may not be sustained on the grounds that the operation interferes with the use or enjoyment of other property, whether public or private.
For more specifics about the law, click here.