Iowa Court Overturns Iowa Pig Farm Proceedings


Des Moines, Iowa (AP) —The Iowa Supreme Court confirmed Thursday that landowners will claim damages if a nearby pig farm causes water pollution and odor problems that affect quality of life. Overturned long-standing precedents.

The court concluded in 4-3 that the 2004 decision was wrong.

Earlier rulings established that some of Iowa’s laws providing exemptions for livestock farms from neighbors’ nuisance proceedings violated the inviolable rights clause of the Iowa Constitution. Neighbors can also sue if they lived in the area long before the farm went into operation, had considerable difficulty and did not benefit from the disturbing immunity given to the livestock farm. understood.

Judge Thomas Waterman wrote in a decision Thursday that “protecting and promoting livestock production is in the legitimate national interest, and giving a partial exemption from nuisance proceedings is a good way to do so.” ..

Iowa is one of the country’s leading pork producers with 23 million pigs, most of them in large confined buildings that collect nitrogen-rich fertilizers from animals and use them to fertilize fields. It is kept.

The court stated that judges need to use reasonable grounds to consider future court issues. This is a difficult standard to overcome as it assumes that state law will be passed for the benefit of the people.

This decision is a big blow to real estate owners in rural areas who want to take legal action against the expansion of pig farms.

“It will make it more difficult. When we bought 300 acres of land in Emmet County, northwestern Iowa in 1972, built a house there in 1999, and the New Fashion Pork was confused in 2015. Wallet Taylor, a lawyer representing the landowner Gordon Garrison, said that he started operating 4,000 pigs on a land owned by BWT Holdings, about 800 meters away.

Garrison said he could smell it for more than 100 days a year, sometimes all day long, and felt nausea and dizziness, forcing him to stop working outdoors. Other neighbors supported his dissatisfaction.

He also complained about water pollution caused by fertilizers spreading on adjacent farmlands.

Garrison filed a proceeding in 2020, calling the piggery a nuisance. A district court judge dismissed his case in May 2021 and he appealed.

Waterman wrote on Thursday that balancing the competing interests of pig farmers and their neighbors is “a typical legislative function, including policy choices with the branch in which our Constitution was elected.”

Under the judgment, the property owner suffers damage due to the farm not complying with federal or state laws or regulations, or the farmer does not use careful and generally accepted management practices. You can file a lawsuit in.

“The Iowa Supreme Court has restored the role of the Iowa State Council to balance the right to farming with the impact on those who choose to live in the countryside of Iowa,” said Iowa’s business manager. James Play, a lawyer representing the farm owner, said.

The Iowa High Court has six conservative judges appointed by the Governor of the Republican Party and one Democratic appointed person. Last Friday, the court overturned the 2018 decision to guarantee Iowa basic rights to abortion under the State Constitution.

Judges Brent Appel and Christopher McDonald disagreed, saying they would have upheld the 2004 proceedings outlining the pig farm agenda. Judge Dana Oxley agreed.

Mr. Appel said the purpose of the inviolable rights clause of the Bill of Rights is to prevent individual freedoms from being eroded by active legislatures or government agencies.

“We are telling existing real estate owners that they need to’take one for the team’because the individual owners next door give off an unpleasant odor under the statutory exemption scheme. Do you? He wrote.

McDonald’s said Iowa’s law alleged private sabotage and immediately deprived real estate owners of the right to seek full compensation, while other states allowed time for neighboring landowners to sue. rice field.

“In the end, the legal issues presented in this case are simple. Does the Constitution mean what it says? Men and women in this state are constitutionally protected to protect their property. Do you have the right? Constitutional, judicial and historical texts say “yes”. The majority say no, “he wrote.

Taylor said Iowans needs to curb the livestock industry, listen to their concerns, and elect members to abolish the nuisance exemption law for pig farms.


This name for the piggery owner and the land on which the piggery was built has been revised.