A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE.


JUDICIAL: Includes agricultural zoning, Right to Farm

In Jefferson Cty. v. Wilmoth Family Properties, LLC, No. E201902283COAR3CV, 2021 WL 321219 (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 1, 2021), a Court of Appeals for the state of Tennessee, reviewed a lower court case concerning county zoning authority on property used for agricultural purposes. The property involved in this case was purchased by the defendants in 2004. At the time, the defendants believed the property was zoned agriculture because it had formerly been used as a dairy farm and slaughterhouse. The defendants began using the property for hay and chicken production, while also hosting third party events and overnight stays. The defendants later discovered that the property was zoned rural residential. In 2016, the county sent notice to defendants to stop using the property as an event venue, claiming that commercial events were prohibited by the rural residential zoning. When the defendants did not stop hosting events, the county initiated this lawsuit. The defendants argued that their property met the statutory definition of a “farming operation” and was therefore protected from zoning regulations under Tennessee’s Right to Farm law. The lower court concluded that the defendants’ property was a farming operation because the events hosted at the property were secondary to the property’s use for hay and poultry production. The county appealed that decision. On appeal, the court ultimately upheld the lower court’s decision that the defendants’ property was a farming operation. Specifically, the appellate court noted that the defendants had sold hay, cattle, and poultry products which had been produced by their farm. According, the appellate court concluded that those facts established that the defendants were engaged in a farming operation on their property.


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Notice that the State of North Carolina is transferring a portion of its 2020 commercial summer flounder quota to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Info here.