H.B. 1430 – Clarifying Protected Rights of Small Farmers

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Authored by Constitutional Attorney, Mark Fitzgibbons -

H.B. 1430 amends the Right to Farm Act (RFA) in just three simple ways.
 

1. It clarifies that the RFA includes the commerce of farming and farmers.
A. It covers byproducts so that farmers may sell value-added goods that they have traditionally sold such handmade farm crafts, goats milk soap, beeswax candles, and wool-woven items.
B. It allows farmers to sell limited amounts of “incidental” items such as beverages, art, books, and artifacts such as old farm tools. There is a 50% cap on revenues from such incidental items so that farms remain farms, and are not converted into something other than farms.
Small farmers often must be creative in generating income to support their families, and misguided zoning ordinances should not be used to stifle the ability of small farmers and their families to earn a living.
 

2. It expressly protects constitutional rights on farm property from zoning ordinance infringements, including First (speech, religion), Second, Fourth (prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures) Amendment rights.
 

3. It provides remedies against counties and county officials who violate the RFA.
 

Rumors about H.B. 1430
H.B. 1430 does not inhibit or diminish agricultural zoning. It expressly clarifies protections of the rights of small farmers.
H.B 1430 will not result in counties failing to enforce zoning ordinances. Any frivolous lawsuits against counties will be quickly dismissed. Counties will easily avoid lawsuits by respecting and following the RFA. Unlawful zoning enforcement against farmers, on the other hand, can shut down farms, depriving farm families of income for long periods – or permanently.
 

Unintended consequences. What are the unintended consequences of expressly protecting constitutional and farming rights? The RFA is meaningless unless it can be enforced.