[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Brutus as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 5-9-2011 by L.L. No. 1-2011]
The Town Board of the Town of Brutus adopted the Town of Brutus Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan on January 11, 2010, which recognizes that farming is an essential element of the Town's economy and contributes to the maintenance of the Town's environmental quality and character.
Based upon the findings of the Plan and the recommendation of the Town of Brutus Agricultural Advisory Committee that was established to advise the Board on implementation of the Plan and other issues that may arise related to agriculture the Town Board hereby enacts the Town of Brutus Right to Farm Law.
Generally the objectives of this article are to: maintain and preserve rural traditions and character; permit the continuation of farming practices necessary to the continued operation of farms and agribusiness; and develop a method to resolve disputes between farmers and non-farmers that may from time to time arise. This article seeks to accomplish these objectives by limiting the circumstances under which farming may be deemed to be a nuisance and to allow agricultural practices inherent to and necessary for the business of farming to proceed and be undertaken free of unreasonable and unwarranted interference or restriction.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- (a) Field crops, including corn, wheat, oats, rye, barley, hay, potatoes and dry beans.
- (b) Fruits, including apples, peaches, grapes, cherries and berries.
- (c) Vegetables, including tomatoes, snap beans, cabbage, carrots, beets and onions.
- (d) Horticultural specialties, including nursery stock, ornamental shrubs, ornamental trees and flowers.
- (e) Livestock and livestock products, including cattle, sheep, hogs, goats, horses, poultry, ratites, such as ostriches, emus, rheas and kiwis, farmed deer, farmed buffalo, fur bearing animals, wool bearing animals, such as alpacas and llamas, milk, eggs and furs.
- (f) Maple sap.
- (g) Christmas trees derived from a managed Christmas tree operation, whether dug for transplanting or cut from the stump.
- (h) Aquaculture products, including fish, fish products, water plants and shellfish.
- (i) Woody biomass, which means short rotation woody crops raised for bioenergy, and shall not include farm woodland.
- (j) Apiary products, including honey, beeswax, royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis, package bees, nucs and queens. For the purposes of this paragraph, "nucs" shall mean small honey bee colonies created from larger colonies including the nuc box, which is a smaller version of a beehive, designed to hold up to five frames from an existing colony.
- (a) Rented land which otherwise satisfies the requirements for eligibility for an agricultural assessment.
- (b) Land of not less than seven acres used as a single operation for the production for sale of crops, livestock or livestock products, exclusive of woodland products, which does not independently satisfy the gross sales value requirement, where such land was used in such production for the preceding two years and currently is being so used under a written rental arrangement of five or more years in conjunction with land which is eligible for an agricultural assessment.
- (c) Land used in support of a farm operation or land used in agricultural production, constituting a portion of a parcel, as identified on the assessment roll, which also contains land qualified for an agricultural assessment.
- (d) Farm woodland which is part of land which is qualified for an agricultural assessment, provided, however, that such farm woodland attributable to any separately described and assessed parcel shall not exceed 50 acres.
- (e) Land set aside through participation in a federal conservation program pursuant to Title 1 of the Federal Food Security Act of 1985 or any subsequent federal programs established for the purposes of replenishing highly erodible land which has been depleted by continuous tilling or reducing national surpluses of agricultural commodities and such land shall qualify for agricultural assessment upon application made pursuant to Paragraph (a) of Subdivision 1 of § 305 of the New York Agriculture and Markets Law, except that no minimum gross sales value shall be required.
- (f) Land of not less than seven acres used as a single operation in the preceding two years for the production for sale of crops, livestock or livestock products of an average gross sales value of $10,000 or more, or land of less than seven acres used as a single operation in the preceding two years for the production for sale of crops, livestock or livestock products of an average gross sales value of fifty thousand dollars or more.
- (g) Land under a structure within which crops, livestock or livestock products are produced, provided that the sales of such crops, livestock or livestock products meet the gross sales requirements of Subsection (3)(f) of this subdivision.
- (h) Land that is owned or rented by a farm operation in its first or second year of agricultural production, or, in the case of a commercial horse boarding operation, in its first or second year of operation, that consists of:
-  Not less than seven acres used as a single operation for the production for sale of crops, livestock or livestock products of an annual gross sales value of $10,000 or more; or
-  Less than seven acres used as a single operation for the production for sale of crops, livestock or livestock products of an annual gross sales value of $50,000 or more; or
-  Land situated under a structure within which crops, livestock or livestock products are produced, provided that such crops, livestock or livestock products have an annual gross sales value of $10,000 or more, if the farm operation uses seven or more acres in agricultural production, or $50,000 or more, if the farm operation uses less than seven acres in agricultural production; or
-  Not less than seven acres used as a single operation to support a commercial horse boarding operation with annual gross receipts of $10,000 or more.
- (i) Land of not less than seven acres used as a single operation for the production for sale of orchard or vineyard crops when such land is used solely for the purpose of planting a new orchard or vineyard and when such land is also owned or rented by a newly established farm operation in its first, second, third or fourth year of agricultural production.
- (j) Land of not less than seven acres used as a single operation for the production and sale of Christmas trees when such land is used solely for the purpose of planting Christmas trees that will be made available for sale, whether dug for transplanting or cut from the stump and when such land is owned or rented by a newly established farm operation in its first, second, third, fourth or fifth year of agricultural production.
- (k) Land used to support an apiary products operation which is owned by the operation and consists of not less than seven acres nor more than ten acres used as a single operation in the preceding two years for the production for sale of crops, livestock or livestock products of an average gross sales value of $10,000 or more, or less than seven acres used as a single operation in the preceding two years for the production for sale of crops, livestock or livestock products of an average gross sales value of fifty thousand dollars or more. The land used to support an apiary products operation shall include, but not be limited to, the land under a structure within which apiary products are produced, harvested and stored for sale; and a buffer area maintained by the operation between the operation and adjacent landowners. Notwithstanding any other provision of this definition, rented land associated with an apiary products operation is not eligible for an agricultural assessment based on this subsection.
- (a) The land and on-farm buildings, equipment, manure processing and handling facilities, and practices which contribute to the production, preparation and marketing of crops, livestock and livestock products as a commercial enterprise, including a "commercial horse boarding operation" as defined in Subsection (5) of this definition and "timber processing" as defined in Subsection (6) of this definition and "compost, mulch or other biomass crops" as defined in Subsection (9) of this definition.
- (b) For the purposes of this article, such farm operation shall also include the production, management and harvesting of "farm woodland," as defined in this Subsection (2) of this definition. Such farm operation may consist of one or more parcels of owned or rented land, which parcels may be contiguous or noncontiguous to each other.
- Any person organization, entity, association, partnership, corporation, or limited liability corporation engaged in the business of agriculture whether for profit or otherwise including the cultivation of land, raising of crops, or rising of livestock.
- Land used in agriculture production.
When used in this article, the term "Town of Brutus" refers only to lands within the Town of Brutus outside of the Village of Weedsport.
Farmers, as well as those employed, retained, or otherwise authorized to act on behalf of farmers, may lawfully engage in agricultural practices within the Town of Brutus at all times and in all such locations as are reasonably necessary to conduct the business of agriculture. For any agricultural practice, in determining the reasonableness of the place, time and methodology of such practice, due weight and consideration shall be given to both traditional customs and procedures in the farming industry as well as to advances resulting from increased knowledge and improved techniques.
Agricultural practices conducted on farmland shall not be found to be a public or private nuisance if such agricultural practices are:
Reasonable and necessary to the particular farm or farm operation;
Conducted in a manner which is not negligent or reckless;
Conducted in conformity with generally accepted and sound agricultural practices;
Conducted in conformity with all local, state and federal laws and regulations;
Conducted in a manner which does not constitute a threat to public health and safety or cause injury to the health or safety or any person; and
Conducted in a manner which does not unreasonably obstruct the free passage or use of navigable waters or public roads.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to prohibit an aggrieved party from recovering damages for bodily injury or wrongful death due to a failure to follow sound agricultural practices as outlined in this section.
In order to promote harmony between farmers and their neighbors, the Town of Brutus requires land holders and/or their agents and assigns provide notice to prospective purchasers and occupants as follows: "It is the policy of the Town of Brutus to conserve, protect and encourage the development and improvement of agricultural land for the production of food and other products, and also for its natural and ecological value. This disclosure notice is to inform prospective residents that the property they are about to acquire lies within a community where farming activities occur. Such farming activities may include, but not be limited to, activities that cause noise, dust and odors."
A copy of this notice shall be included as an addendum to the purchase and sale contract at the time an offer to purchase is made. In addition this notice shall be included in building permits and on plats of subdivisions for approval pursuant to New York State Town Law § 276.
Should any New State Law or agency require the same or more stringent notification then that requirement shall supersede this requirement.
Should any controversy arise regarding any inconveniences or discomfort occasioned by agricultural operations that cannot be resolved by direct negations between the parties involved, either party may submit the controversy to a Dispute Resolution Committee as set forth below in an attempt to resolve the dispute prior to filing for any court action or a request for determination by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets as authorized by § 308 of Article 25AA of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.
Any controversy between parties shall be submitted to the Committee within 30 days of the last occurrence of the particular activity that gave rise to the dispute or the date the party became aware of the occurrence.
The controversy shall be submitted to the Town Agricultural Advisory Committee by one of the parties. Thereafter the Town Agricultural Advisory Committee shall take the steps needed to establish a Dispute Resolution Committee. The Committee, once established, shall advise the other party to the dispute of the submittal of the request for resolution and request the other parties' participation. The Committee shall meet within 30 days of the notification of the parties with the parties and such experts as may be deemed appropriate to consider the matter. Following the meeting the Committee shall render a decision within 30 days and advise the parties of its decision in writing or, with the consent of both parties, at a later date so as to permit the collection of additional facts or analysis of facts presented.
The Dispute Resolution Committee shall be an ad hoc committee established when a controversy arises. It shall be composed of three members: one member of the Town of Brutus Agricultural Advisory Committee chosen by the members of that Committee; one member of the Town Board chosen by the members of the Board; and one person mutually agreed to be both parties to the dispute.
The parties are encouraged to provide full and factual information the Committee in order that the Committee may function in an optimum manner. The Committee is encouraged to request professional evaluations of matters related to the dispute by such experts as Cayuga County, New York State, and federal agencies may be able to provide to assist the Committee.
Any reasonable costs incurred by the Committee shall be born equally between the parties.