Indiana Right to Farm

Indiana Right to Farm

Like many other states, Indiana has a “Right-to-Farm” statute, meant to codify the coming to the nuisance doctrine—so city-dwellers cannot move to rural lands and demand farms change their operations. Corporate agribusiness has, however, been pushing efforts to expand the scope of these laws to almost completely remove neighbors’ remedies from factory farm misconduct.

In an extremely unfortunate decision, the Indiana Court of Appeals interpreted its Right-to-Farm statute in a grossly expansive way, which would prevent a variety of tort remedies beyond nuisance, and allow huge concentrated animal feeding operations (“CAFOs”) to proliferate, harming their farming neighbors. In fact, the panel of the Court of Appeals held that because people raised “hogs” in 1941 without them being a nuisance, any hog operation—including the 8,000 head, entirely confined CAFO opened by Defendants—can take advantage of the Right to Farm law.

We focus on how CAFOs are new creations that no one could have anticipated in 1941. Moreover, the risks they pose to the surrounding community have only been established in the past two decades. Further still, in providing CAFOs an unnecessarily expansive Right to Farm defense, the Court of Appeal actually injures rural communities, as CAFOs are controlled by corporations that have no ties to or interest in the community and often drive smaller farms out of business.

Resource Materials