308. Right to farm. 1. a. The commissioner shall, in consultation with the state advisory council on agriculture, issue opinions upon request from any person as to whether particular agricultural practices are sound.
b. Sound agricultural practices refer to those practices necessary for the on-farm production, preparation and marketing of agricultural commodities. Examples of activities which entail practices the commissioner may consider include, but are not limited to, operation of farm equipment; proper use of agricultural chemicals and other crop protection methods; direct sale to consumers of agricultural commodities or foods containing agricultural commodities produced on-farm; agricultural tourism; "timber operation," as defined in subdivision fourteen of section three hundred one of this article and construction and use of farm structures. The commissioner shall consult appropriate state agencies and any guidelines recommended by the advisory council on agriculture. The commissioner may consult as appropriate, the New York state college of agriculture and life sciences and the U.S.D.A. natural resources conservation service, and provide such information, after the issuance of a formal opinion, to the municipality in which the agricultural practice being evaluated is located. The commissioner shall also consider whether the agricultural practices are conducted by a farm owner or operator as part of his or her participation in the AEM program as set forth in article eleven-A of this chapter. Such practices shall be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
2. Upon the issuance of an opinion pursuant to this section, the commissioner shall publish a notice in a newspaper having a general circulation in the area surrounding the practice and notice shall be given in writing to the owner of the property on which the practice is conducted and any adjoining property owners. The opinion of the commissioner shall be final, unless within thirty days after publication of the notice a person affected thereby institutes a proceeding to review the opinion in the manner provided by article seventy-eight of the civil practice law and rules.
3. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, on any land in an agricultural district created pursuant to section three hundred three or land used in agricultural production subject to an agricultural assessment pursuant to section three hundred six of this article, an agricultural practice shall not constitute a private nuisance, when an action is brought by a person, provided such agricultural practice constitutes a sound agricultural practice pursuant to an opinion issued upon request by the commissioner. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit an aggrieved party from recovering damages for personal injury or wrongful death.
4. The commissioner, in consultation with the state advisory council on agriculture, shall issue an opinion within thirty days upon request from any person as to whether particular land uses are agricultural in nature. Such land use decisions shall be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
5. The commissioner shall develop and make available to prospective grantors and purchasers of real property located partially or wholly within any agricultural district in this state and to the general public, practical information related to the right to farm as set forth in this article including, but not limited to right to farm disclosure requirements established pursuant to section three hundred ten of this article and section three hundred thirty-three-c of the real property law.
Last modified: February 3, 2019