University of Vermont AAHS

Maryland Agricultural Protection Act

Subtitle 4. Immunities and Prohibited Actions -- Businesses, Associations, and Charities.

5-403. Actions against farms for nuisance

(a) In this section, "agricultural operation" means an operation for the processing of agricultural crops or on-farm production, harvesting, or marketing of any agricultural, horticultural, silvicultural, aquacultural, or apicultural product that has been grown, raised, or cultivated by the farmer.
(b)(1) This section does not:
(i) Prohibit a federal, State, or local government from enforcing health, environmental, zoning, or any other applicable law;
(ii) Relieve any agricultural operation from the responsibility of complying with the terms of any applicable federal, State, and local permit required for the operation;
(iii) Relieve any agricultural operator from the responsibility to comply with any federal, State, or local health, environmental, and zoning requirement; or
(iv) Relieve any agricultural operation from liability for conducting an agricultural operation in a negligent manner.
(2) This section does not apply to any agricultural operation that is operating without a fully and demonstrably implemented nutrient management plan for nitrogen and phosphorus if otherwise required by law.
(c) If an agricultural operation has been under way for a period of 1 year or more and if the operation is in compliance with applicable federal, State, and local health, environmental, zoning, and permit requirements relating to any nuisance claim and is not conducted in a negligent manner:
(1) The operation, including any noise, odors, dust, or insects from the operation, may not be deemed to be a public or private nuisance; and
(2) A private action may not be sustained on the grounds that the operation interferes or has interfered with the use or enjoyment of other property, whether public or private.
(d)(1) This section does not create, and may not be construed as creating, a new cause of action or substantive legal right against a person who is engaged in an agricultural operation.
(2) This section does not affect, and may not be construed as affecting, any defenses available at common law to a defendant who is engaged in an agricultural operation and subject to an action for nuisance.

Enacted in 1981, amended in 1986, 1997, and 1998.
Reviewed by AAHS in June 2001.

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