Discouragement of Private Nuisance Lawsuits

Agricultural District Law attempts to discourage private nuisance lawsuits in two different ways. First, the Commissioner may, in consultation with the Advisory Council on Agriculture (ACA), issue opinions upon request as to whether a particular agricultural practice is sound (ADL Section 308). A sound agricultural practice (SAP) refers to the practices necessary for the on-farm production, preparation, and marketing of agricultural commodities. An agricultural practice conducted in an agricultural district or on land receiving an agricultural assessment shall not constitute a private nuisance provided that the practice is determined to be an SAP pursuant to an opinion of the Commissioner. The Commissioner is also authorized, in consultation with the ACA, to issue advisory opinions on a case-by-case basis as to whether particular land uses are agricultural in nature.

Second, prospective buyers are notified that the property is within an agricultural district prior to purchase. The buyer is given the following statement to sign, acknowledging the purpose and scope of agricultural districts.

"It is the policy of this state and this community to conserve, protect and encourage the development and improvement of agricultural land for the production of food, and other products, and also for its natural and ecological value. This disclosure notice is to inform prospective residents that the property they are about to acquire lies partially or wholly within an agricultural district and that farming activities occur within the district. Such farming activities may include, but not be limited to, activities that cause noise, dust, and odors. Prospective residents are also informed that the location of property within an agricultural district may impact the ability to access water and/or sewer services for such property under certain circumstances. Prospective purchasers are urged to contact the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to obtain additional information or clarification regarding their rights and obligations under article 25-AA of the Agriculture and Markets Law."