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Bill Summary Details

Farming Operations (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/CS/SB 88 (Brodeur) amends the Florida Right to Farm Act, which is intended to protect reasonable agricultural activities from nuisance lawsuits. The Right to Farm Act specifies that no farm operation that has been in operation for one year or more and that was not a nuisance at the time of its establishment shall be a public or private nuisance if the farm operation conforms to generally accepted agricultural and management practices. The bill expands the definition of “farm operations” in the Act to add “agritourism activities” to the list of farm operations that receive legal protections in nuisance suits, and it adds the generation of fumes and particle emissions to the list of conditions or activities that constitute farm operations under the Act. The “established date of operation” for an agritourism activity is the date the specific agritourism activity commenced, which may be different from the established date for the underlying farm operation. In addition, the bill provides limitations on liability from nuisance, trespass or tort actions that may be filed relating to farming or agritourism activities. It specifies that a farm may not be held liable for operations alleged to cause harm outside of the farm unless the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that the claim arises out of conduct that does not comply with state and federal environmental laws, regulations or best management practices. The bill further provides that a nuisance action may not be filed unless the property affected by the activity is located within one-half mile of the activity. The bill limits compensatory damages in a private nuisance action to the reduction in fair market value of the affected property. It prohibits the recovery of punitive damages for nuisance actions under specified conditions. Finally, the bill requires payment of attorney fees and costs by plaintiffs who fail to prevail in a nuisance action. (O'Hara)