Right-to-farm law proposed in Dutchess County


POUGHKEEPSIE – Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver, the only full-time farmer on the board, has introduced a local right-to-farm law.

If adopted, a right-to-farm community would affirm its policy to encourage and foster understanding by all residents of the necessary day-to-day operations involved in farming and to encourage cooperation with those practices.

Other counties in the state have such a local law.

The law would establish a right-to-farm dispute resolution committee that is a non-binding and free mediation group that would serve as a facilitator between farmers and their neighbors. The committee would hear disputes about agricultural activities and render opinions within 45 days.

It is believed to preempt costly and lengthy court processes but would not restrict any future legal action.

The committee would hear each dispute and determine if the activity conducted by a farmer is “reasonable and necessary” as well as a “sound agricultural practice.”

Under the proposal, property within 500 feet of land enrolled in an agricultural district would be required to be sold with a disclosure notice that Dutchess is a right-to-farm community and that agricultural activities that cause noise or dust may affect the property.

Supporters of the bill say educating neighbors of farming practices will strengthen the rural community bonds that make Dutchess a desirable place to live.

Pulver said as the farm-to-table movement continues, “we must encourage farming in our county which in turn will educate non-farmers on how food reaches their plates. The bucolic character of this county is part of what makes living here special and we need to preserve that.”