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Ag attorneys outline some best practices to protect livestock producers

As the livestock industry faces increasing pressure from animal rights groups, two ag attorneys have recommendations to help producers protect their farms from litigation.

Brianna Schroeder is a partner at Indiana-based Janzen Schroeder Ag Law.  

“Keep an eye on your state laws—trespass laws are passed by state but they can implicate the federal constitution and so that’s something you want to keep an eye on” she says. “Also, Right to Farm Act can be a great defense if you are sued for either nuisance, negligence, trespass, all different sorts of things,” she says.  

She says producers targeted by litigation should work with state and national industry groups and keep detailed records.  

Michelle Pardo, partner with at Duane Morris LLP, says livestock producers should have an effective training and compliance program.

“If you have policies in place and you do them it will go a really long way in litigation,” she says. “If you are saying you’re doing certain welfare measures at your farm and then you don’t do them, that actually makes you more vulnerable in these types of cases.”  

She says producers should provide written notice of falsity to animal rights groups if they are misrepresenting their farm, and contact authorities if there is an intrusion, and quantify any damage.  

Schroeder and Pardo spoke during the recent Animal Ag Alliance Virtual Summit.

  • Please explain how the “Right to Farm Act” can help certain farmers/ranchers. If farmers and ranchers are not aware of the act and two 16-house each chicken farm operations locate on either side of one’s property, within a mile on each side, how someone is supposed to exist?? By the time the first year of chicken farming is over and the original farmer/rancher realize the rights they would have had, had they been aware of the law, what rights do they have afterward? They are stuck with frequent horrific, nauseating odors and not a darn thing they can do after the first year. There should be a law requiring the chicken companies to publish a notice in the affected county’s news media, making them aware of the potential for a chicken house operation bot be located in their County., and giving the original farmers/ranchers/landowners the ability to protest! This is so unfair to those of us whose properties have been owned for generations!!!

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