House Leaders Respond to Continued Legal Assault on Farms in Eastern N.C.

Raleigh, N.C. – Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives responded Wednesday to a lawsuit challenging legal protections for agriculture communities in Eastern North Carolina that were approved by the General Assembly over the past two years.

In response to a flurry of nuisance lawsuits from out-of-state firms against farms in Eastern North Carolina, the state General Assembly approved House Bill 467 Agriculture and Forestry Nuisance Remedies in 2017 and Senate Bill 711 NC Farm Act of 2018 last year.

The legislation aimed to protect the state’s largest economic driver from the coordinated nuisance lawsuits in circumstances where the agriculture operation was not subject to a criminal conviction or civil enforcement action.

Both bills providing protection for the state’s agriculture sector were vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper and overridden by the Republican-led General Assembly to prevent further legal attacks on family farms operating in North Carolina.

State House leaders said Wednesday they would “continue to fight” against “any coordinated legal assault” on farming families, including challenges to recent legislation intended to protect their livelihoods.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Jimmy Dixon (R-Duplin), House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne), and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) released a joint statement:

“The 2017 and 2018 Farm Acts included crucial policy reforms to protect North Carolina agriculture, the largest economic sector in our state that millions of citizens depend on for food,” the legislators said.  

“We will continue to fight for hardworking North Carolina farm families and their communities by opposing any coordinated legal assault that seeks to profit off their livelihoods and potentially shut down their farms.  There is no right more fundamental than the right to feed our families.”

The lawsuit challenging both bills was filed in Wake County Superior Court.