I am back again, highlighting another court decision covering a state’s right-to-farm law and the use of scare guns. In Mississippi, two producers began using propane cannon scare guns to prevent deer from eating their cotton and soybean crops during the summer months. The propane cannons created loud noises, and the neighbors’ ensuing lawsuit tried to prevent the two producers from using the cannons, claiming nuisance. The trial court agreed with the two producers that the state’s right-to-farm law barred the nuisance claim, and the Supreme Court of Mississippi recently upheld the trial court’s ruling, in Briggs v. Hughes.
With 2020 over and 2021 just starting, I wanted to take a minute to look back at the top legal developments impacting agriculture in 2019. A few of these legal developments may seem like repeats from my 2019 update; see here. Moving into 2021, we will see new issues emerge as continued lawsuits involving pesticides, continued implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill and COVID-19 relief bills, and possible appeals in a few cases on the list. See above for the embedded annual podcast episode covering these issues. If you have not already signed up for updates, click here to sign up to get email updates sent to you as new content is available.
I have gotten a few questions involving farm dogs here lately and thought I would take a moment to provide information here on the issues. If you have livestock, you may have a dog to scares away predators that might injure or kill the livestock. This dog may bark throughout the night, which may cause an issue for your neighbors. And although your neighbors may find this a nuisance, many Maryland counties specifically exempt dogs used on farms from county ordinances limiting dogs from being a nuisance. You should check your county code to determine if farm dogs are exempt from the nuisance limitations in your county. For those in counties without a code provision for farm dogs, the county’s right-to-farm ordinance and state’s right-to-farm law potentially provide protections.