CODE OF GEORGIA
TITLE 41. NUISANCES
CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 41-1-7. Agricultural or farming operations; legislative determination and declaration of when deemed a nuisance
(a) It is the declared policy of the state to conserve, protect, and encourage the development and improvement of its agricultural land and facilities for the production of food and other agricultural products. When nonagricultural land uses extend into agricultural areas or when there are changed conditions in or around the locality of an agricultural facility, agricultural operations often become the subject of nuisance actions. As a result, agricultural facilities are sometimes forced to cease operations. Many others are discouraged from making investments in farm improvements or adopting new technology or methods. It is the purpose of this Code section to reduce losses of the state's agricultural resources by limiting the circumstances under which agricultural facilities and operations may be deemed to be a nuisance.
(b) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) "Agricultural area" means any land which is, or may be, legally used for an agricultural operation under applicable zoning laws, rules, and regulations at the time of commencement of the agricultural operation of the agricultural facility at issue and throughout the first year of operation of such agricultural facility. Any land which is not subject to zoning laws, rules, and regulations at the time of commencement of an agricultural operation of an agricultural facility and throughout the first year of operation of such agricultural facility shall be deemed an "agricultural area" for purposes of this Code section.
(2) "Agricultural facility" includes, but is not limited to, any land, building, structure, pond, impoundment, appurtenance, machinery, or equipment which is used for the commercial production or processing of crops, livestock, animals, poultry, honeybees, honeybee products, livestock products, poultry products, or products which are used in commercial aquaculture. Such term shall also include any farm labor camp or facilities for migrant farm workers.
(3) "Agricultural operation" means:
(A) The plowing, tilling, or preparation of soil at an agricultural facility;
(B) The planting, growing, fertilizing, or harvesting of crops;
(C) The application of pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals, compounds, or substances to crops, weeds, or soil in connection with the production of crops, livestock, animals, or poultry;
(D) The breeding, hatching, raising, producing, feeding, keeping, slaughtering, or processing of livestock, hogs, equines, chickens, turkeys, poultry or other fowl normally raised for food, mules, cattle, sheep, goats, dogs, rabbits, or similar farm animals for commercial purposes;
(E) The production and keeping of honeybees, the production of honeybee products, and honeybee processing facilities;
(F) The production, processing, or packaging of eggs or egg products;
(G) The manufacturing of feed for poultry or livestock;
(H) The rotation of crops;
(I) Commercial aquaculture;
(J) The application of existing, changed, or new technology, practices, processes, or procedures to any agricultural operation; and
(K) The operation of any roadside market.
(4) "Changed conditions" means any one or more of the following:
(A) Any change in the use of land in an agricultural area;
(B) An increase in the magnitude of an existing use of land in or around the locality of an agricultural facility and includes, but is not limited to, urban sprawl into an agricultural area in or around the locality of an agricultural facility, or an increase in the number of persons making any such use, or an increase in the frequency of such use; or
(C) The construction or location of improvements on land in or around the locality of an agricultural facility closer to an agricultural facility than those improvements located on such land at the time of commencement of the agricultural operation or the agricultural facility at issue and throughout the first year of operation of said agricultural facility.
(5) "Urban sprawl" means either of the following, or both:
(A) The conversion of agricultural areas from traditional agricultural use to residential use; or
(B) An increase in the number of residences in an agricultural area which increase is unrelated to the use of the agricultural area for traditional agricultural purposes.
(c) No agricultural facility or any agricultural operation at an agricultural facility shall be or shall become a nuisance, either public or private, as a result of changed conditions in or around the locality of such agricultural facility if the agricultural facility has been in operation for one year or more. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply when a nuisance results from the negligent, improper, or illegal operation of any agricultural facility.
(d) For purposes of this Code section, the established date of operation is the date on which an agricultural operation commenced operation. If the physical facilities of the agricultural operation are subsequently expanded or new technology adopted, the established date of operation for each change is not a separately and independently established date of operation and the commencement of the expanded operation does not divest the agricultural operation of a previously established date of operation.
Enacted in 1980, amended in 2002..
Reviewed by AAHS in June 2001.
Reviewed and updated by AAHS in April 2003.
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