By Erin Smith
The NC General Assembly completed an override of Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of the NC Farm Bill 2018 on Wednesday morning. The measure will now become law and it will restrict when and how neighbors of farms can file a lawsuit.
The NC Senate override vote was 37 for and 9 against on Tuesday and the NC House override vote was 74 for and 45 against on Wednesday morning.
The law attempts to modify the State’s right to farm law after a federal court ruling scuttled the law and removed protections for farms. One provision of the NC Farm Bill states that a plaintiff may not receive punitive damages from a farm or agricultural operation that has not been the subject of fines, criminal penalties or been issued a notice of violation. Read the entire NC Farm Bill 2018 here.
The NC Farm Act of 2018 comes at a time when several of the State’s hog farmers are being sued in federal court over so called nuisance issues such as offensive odors, flies and spray fields. Plaintiffs claim these nuisances rob them of their ability to utilize and enjoy their property.
Currently, the jury in a federal courtroom in Raleigh is deliberating their decision in a lawsuit filed against the Joey Carter Farm near Beulaville. The lawsuit claims the hog farm is a nuisance based on odors generated by the farm. The jury must decide based on the evidence presented if the farm is a nuisance and if so, how much money the plaintiffs will receive as compensation.
Gov. Cooper had not issued a statement on the override as of Wednesday afternoon.