Co-existing

Tamworth, NH(Zone 4b)

So, many of you may have run into anti-farm sentiment in your community. Either you moved in and started a farm and established residents hate you for it, or perhaps you were there first. Either way, assuming you are within your rights to farm with regard to zoning and such, how do you deal with grumpy neighbors?

Do you ignore them? Address their concerns when it's reasonable to do so? Bend over backwards to make sure they have nothing to complain about?

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

We have the good fortune of living in a farming community, so we haven't had much trouble, but I have run across people who like to say all farmers are bad. I generally take the stand that we are trying very hard to farm in the best manner for our particular farm. When I've run into outright belligerence, I generally point out the fact that it will be difficult for them to survive long without us and walk away.

Since 1971, we have had Agricultural Districts in New York State:

"The State Legislature initially enacted the New York Agricultural Districts Law in 1971 to protect and promote the availability of land for farming purposes. Subsequent amendments have broadened its scope. The law provides a locally initiated mechanism for the creation of agricultural districts. The formation of agricultural districts is intended to counteract the impact which nonfarm development can have upon the continuation of farm businesses.

Briefly, agricultural districts provide the framework to limit unreasonable local regulation on farm practices, to modify public agencies' ability to acquire farmland through eminent domain, and to modify the right to advance public funds to construct facilities that encourage development. The law also requires state agencies to modify their administrative regulations and procedures to encourage the continuation of farm businesses. Right to Farm provisions provide protection from private nuisance suits for land in agricultural districts and parcels receiving agricultural assessments outside districts."

( http://www.orps.state.ny.us/pamphlet/exempt/agassess.htm )

There have been challenges to this, but the farmers have always won. A few years ago, people with summer homes on Chautauqua Lake complained that a nearby farm made it impossible for them to enjoy the fresh air, as the farmers stunk it up with manure. They had been told when they moved in that there were active farming operations in the area. Basically, the judge told them to go home and close their windows.

Are you having problems?

Richmond, TX

Texas needs such a law. Developers' subdivisions are crowding into agricultural areas and turning them into "Acreage Communities" . I hate it!

Tamworth, NH(Zone 4b)

That's interesting about the Agricultural Districts. I used to live in one, in western NY, and the town I lived in still limited farming, which they defined as even keeping chickens, to requiring a minimum of 10 acres. I wonder if anyone ever challenged them on it.

But now I live in NH, in a town with lots of small farms scattered throughout. There is no zoning in this town. We are not in violation of any ordinances. But I have a pissed off neighbor who sent me an anonymous letter complaining about everything from chickens to ducks to sheep to dogs. One of their last statements was "this is a residential neighborhood, not 'farm country'". I hate to break it to them, but there are farms everywhere, including right smack in the middle of the village and we live a few miles outside of the village center.

I am 99% sure I know who sent it. So I've written a courteous response, indicating my willingness to make adjustments, within reason, to mitigate some of what they are complaining about, because it it certainly not our intent to cause extreme annoyance (while pointing out a few things that we have had to put up with from neighbors). I'm also telling them that if they have problems in the future, they need to tell me face to face, politely, and not send passive-aggressive anonymous letters. I hope I will be making it clear, in a polite and reasoned fashion, that I will not be treated that way.

We'll see how it goes.

Tamworth, NH(Zone 4b)

Well, they denied sending the letter. I won't go into all the reasons why I know they are lying, but given that they have denied it, I'm no longer going to worry about it. If they can't own up to their own frustrations, I don't feel that I have to cater to them in any way. I didn't even give them the letter I had written, but in our conversation, which was friendly and chatty, I did provide enough information about a couple things they had complained about to probably appease them somewhat. Not that I need to appease them, but I offered the info as a goodwill gesture. We parted on (as usual) friendly terms. They really should go into acting though - they'd win an Oscar!

Richmond, TX

- And you should go into international relations.

Tamworth, NH(Zone 4b)

LOL Porkpal! That would NOT be my idea of a dream job! :)

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