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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Biosolids vs Right to Farm

The previous article on Biosolids was submitted as an informative opinion essay. It is a general information article and does not indicate that Biosolids are, or are not, being used in Larimer County, Colorado. Had it done so, the article would not have been published unless the person(s) using the product also had a chance to respond and give their point of view.

However, there are always other points of view and  a local agribusiness operator has requested that we provide a link to the Colorado “Right to Farm” law.

Here is the introduction:

35-3.5-101. Legislative declaration.

It is the declared policy of the state of Colorado to conserve, protect, and encourage the development and improvement of its agricultural land for the production of food and other agricultural products. The general assembly recognizes that, when nonagricultural land uses extend into agricultural areas, agricultural operations often become the subject of nuisance suits. As a result, a number of agricultural operations are forced to cease operations, and many others are discouraged from making investments in farm improvements. It is the purpose of this article to reduce the loss to the state of Colorado of its agricultural resources by limiting the circumstances under which agricultural operations may be deemed to be a nuisance. It is further recognized that units of local government may adopt ordinances or pass resolutions that provide additional protection for agricultural operations consistent with the interests of the affected agricultural community, without diminishing the rights of any real property interests.

 I suspect that the person who requested this inclusion is of the opinion that the right to farm would supersede any complaints about the use of biosolids, but that is not necessarily the case. The next section of the law speaks to nuisance factor and common farm methods.

Section 102: Agricultural operation deemed not nuisance – state agricultural commission – attorney fees – exceptions

1)    (a) Except as provided in this section, an agricultural operation shall not be found to be a public or private nuisance if the agricultural operation alleged to be a nuisance employs methods or practices that are commonly or reasonably associated with agricultural production.

It is certainly possible that the use of biosolids would not be considered a practice that is commonly or reasonable associated with agricultural production. It is also possible the affect on personal health as outlined in the article would be considered more than a nuisance.

A more robust rebuttal to the claims of the article would necessitate showing research that shows that the use of biosolids are safe and do not cause health hazards and laboratory analysis of the material actually being used to show that it does not contain toxic ingredients.

The Recorder certainly is not in a position to ascertain how the laws of the state would apply to this situation, but we can provide a forum for both sides of the debate.

You can read the whole statute at: Farmlandinfo.org/documents/28669/CO_35-3.5-101

The resolution of the Larimer County Commissioners can be found at A Right to Farm and Ranch Policy

You may leave your opinion below. We would love to hear from you.

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