THE OREGON RIGHT TO FARM LAW

 

 

 

 

Right-to-farm

 

Overview

 

1993 legislation, updated in 1995 and 2001, declares farm and forest practices as critical to the welfare of the Oregon economy, and establishes a right-to-farm law. This law limits the rights of individuals, local governments, and special districts from bringing court actions or administratively declaring certain farm and forest products to be nuisances or trespass (ORS 30.930).

 

Protected land

No farming or forest practice on lands zoned for farm or forest use shall give rise to any private right of action or claim for relief based upon nuisance or trespass. “Pre-existing nonconforming (farm or forest) uses” are also afforded this protection provided that the farming or forest use existed before the conflicting non‑farm or nonforest use of the real property that gave rise to the claim and provided that the pre-existing nonconforming farming or forest practice has “not significantly increased in size or intensity from November 4, 1993.”

Right-to-farm protection is not afforded claims based on

damage to commercial agricultural products

death or serious injury.

Protected practices

Protected practices include farming or forest practices that are or may be used on a farm or forestland of similar nature. are generally accepted reasonable and prudent methods for the operation to obtain profit in money. comply with applicable law. are performed in a reasonable manner.

The lawful and proper use of pesticides is considered a protected farming or forest practice.

The law also provides protection for the movement of farm vehicles and livestock on public roads.

In the case of forest land activities, the following are covered (other acceptable practices may be included as well):

site preparation

timber harvest

slash disposal

road construction and maintenance

tree planting

thinning

release

fertilization

annual damage control

insect disease control

pesticide use.

Local government and special district ordinances and regulations now in effect or subsequently adopted which are contrary to this law are invalid. In any legal action alleging nuisance or trespass arising from a practice alleged by either side as a farm or forest practice, the prevailing party is awarded attorney fees and costs at the trial and on appeal.

Complainants may want to consider the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Farm Mediation Program before filing any legal action. Call 503-986-4558 or 800-347-7028 for information about the mediation program. Parties are encouraged to talk with legal counsel on the interpretation of the statute.

Technical assistance

Oregon Department of Agriculture

Land use

Jim Johnson 503-986-4706

Farm Mediation Program

Brent Searle 503-986-4558 or 800-347-7028

 

 

 

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