The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-1 in favor of the CS/SB 88 by Jason Brodeur (R-9), Vice Chair of the Judiciary Audrey Gibson (D-6) was the only no vote.
The bill limits those who may bring a nuisance action against a farm operation to people whose real property that is alleged to be damaged is located within one-half mile of the alleged source of the nuisance.
The definition of “farm operations” is expanded to add “agritourism” activities to the list of farm operations that receive limited legal protections in nuisance suits and other similar civil actions. The definition is further revised to include the generation of “particle emissions” to the list of conditions or activities that constitute farm operations.
WHEREAS, all 50 U.S. states have enacted “Right to Farm” laws that protect farmers and ranchers from nuisance lawsuits filed by individuals who move into a rural area where normal farming operations exist and then use legal actions to stop or interfere with ongoing farming operations, and
WHEREAS, Florida’s Right to Farm legislation was enacted in 1979 to protect agricultural operations from these types of actions and is in need of updating, and WHEREAS, as our state continues to experience unprecedented growth and as residential development continues to encroach upon our rural areas, there is a possibility for increased complaints regarding farming practices approved by the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, such as harvesting, transporting crops, and conducting controlled burning, despite the use of best management practices.