Oklahoma Farm Report masthead graphic with wheat on the left and cattle on the right.
Howdy Neighbors!
Ron Hays, Director of Farm and Ranch Programming, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network  |  2401 Exchange Ave, Suite F, Oklahoma City, Ok 73108  |  (405) 601-9211


Agricultural News

Farmers Under Fire: Panelists Expose Trial Lawyers' Attack on Agriculture at AFBF Convention

Wed, 16 Jan 2019 12:24:12 CST

Farmers Under Fire: Panelists Expose Trial Lawyers' Attack on Agriculture at AFBF Convention Agriculture is in the crosshairs as class-action lawsuits seek huge monetary awards against agricultural producers, said a panel of experts at a workshop at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Annual Convention.

Panelists Andy Curliss, CEO of the North Carolina Pork Council; Harrison Pittman, director of the National Agriculture Law Center and Blake Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation, discussed the recent lawsuits targeting production agriculture and suggested actions that state Farm Bureaus can take to fight these targeted attacks.

AFB Women’s Leadership Committee member Lorenda Overman, moderator of the panel, summarized the law firms’ strategy in North Carolina and the effect of the verdicts on farmers.

“On paper it looks like they’re suing Smithfield Foods, but the farmer is the one on trial,” Overman said. “Once the trial is over and the verdict is read, the farms are depopulated, leaving the farmer with no income. The juries have awarded huge damages, even though all of these farms were in compliance with the law.”

Curliss said that four recent trials in North Carolina have resulted in more than $550 million in damages for 26 plaintiffs, with hundreds of other plaintiffs currently awaiting trials.

In July 2018, a North Carolina jury awarded more than $25 million in a lawsuit against Smithfield Foods, alleging the hog farm owned by Joey Carter was a nuisance, despite the fact that Carter had always followed and exceeded the state’s laws, invested in modern technologies and responded promptly to any concerns raised by his neighbors.

If it can happen to Joey Carter, it can happen to anyone, anywhere,” said Curliss. “There were 75 “new houses built after the farm was in place. I ask you: Is that a nuisance?”

Pittman said that years ago, there were protections against nuisance lawsuits if a neighbor moved where a farm already existed. However, it wasn’t useful enough for cases involving agriculture, so states began to draft right-to-farm laws in the 1970s, and there are now right-to-farm laws in every state.

“This battle used to play out solely in the judicial branch when legislators decided to stand up for agriculture,” Pittman said. “Now you have a court stating that it won’t apply the right-to-farm statutes at all.”

Hurst cited the $289 million verdict in the recent lawsuit against Monsanto targeting glyphosate.

“This is a problem we all face as farmers,” Hurst said. “Of all the tools we use, there’s nothing safer than Roundup.”

Hurst said right-to-farm laws have to be drafted, but it is a back and forth process. “In Missouri we were successful in making changes to nuisance laws by limiting damages, which made a huge difference in the litigation climate.”

We have the ability to make changes in state legislatures, said Hurst, but if public perception continues to decline it will be much more difficult.

“These things would not be happening without a change in how the public perceives farms and agriculture,” Hurst said. “There’s a real threat to our farms from these lawsuits.

“The legal environment is important, and that’s where Farm Bureau makes a difference,” said Hurst. “We have the ability to lobby and change laws. But if we lose the public’s respect as family farmers, then we lose the ability to make legislative changes.”

Listen to the full discussion that took place during this workshop by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.

Our Coverage of the 2019 American Farm Bureau Convention and Trade Show is powered by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau- proud to rural all 77 counties and dedicated to imoproving the Lives of Rural Oklahomans. Click here for the Ok Farm Bureau website to learn more about being a part of Farm Bureau family.

Source - American Farm Bureau Federation



Hear the full discussion that took place at this workship by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.
right-click to download mp3


WebReadyTM Powered by WireReady® NSI


Top Agricultural News

  • Wednesday, September 23, 2020 Market Wrap-Up with Justin Lewis  Wed, 23 Sep 2020 15:27:01 CDT
  • Norman City Leadership's Hardcore COVID-19 Restrictions Among The Reasons Why Farm Bureau Cancelled Annual Meeting, Says OKFB President Rodd Moesel  Wed, 23 Sep 2020 15:20:14 CDT
  • Oklahoma Grain Elevator Cash Bids as of 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 23  Wed, 23 Sep 2020 15:06:35 CDT
  • AFR/OFU President: Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2.0 Step in Right Direction  Wed, 23 Sep 2020 14:59:51 CDT
  • Florida Cattle Rancher Testifies In Senate EPW On ESA Modernization  Wed, 23 Sep 2020 10:55:51 CDT
  • Lawmakers Show Support for Farmers  Wed, 23 Sep 2020 10:13:21 CDT
  • Public Lands Ranchers Set to Make Most Of Opportunities At PLC Annual Meeting  Wed, 23 Sep 2020 10:06:57 CDT
  • TCFA Virtual Convention Preview: Randy Blach and Peter Zeihan Talk Markets and Global Agriculture  Wed, 23 Sep 2020 09:52:37 CDT
  • NCBA Showcases the Beef Industry’s Commitment to Sustainability  Wed, 23 Sep 2020 16:39:02 CDT

  • More Headlines...


    Ron salutes our daily email sponsors!

    Oklahoma Ag Credit Oklahoma Farm Bureau National Livestock Credit Ag Mediation Program P&K Equipment Tulsa Farm Show AFR Insurance Stillwater Milling Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association KIS FUTURES, INC.

    Our Road to Rural Prosperity sponsors!


    Search OklahomaFarmReport.com

    © 2008-2020 Oklahoma Farm Report
    Email Ron   |   Newsletter Signup   |    Current Spots   |    Program Links

    WebReady powered by WireReady® Inc.