Maintaining an abundant and affordable food supply is fundamental to the survival of every human society. As the population in the United States has rapidly grown throughout its history, the nation’s agricultural producers have effectively increased food production to meet every new demand. Unfortunately, this increase in population, combined with the agriculture practices used to meet these demands, has frequently led to tensions between farmers and the non-farmer residents that surround those agricultural operations.
In an effort to remedy these farm/nonfarm conflicts and allow for a steady supply of vital agricultural products, legislatures in every state have provided legal protections for farmers through the enactment of right to farm laws. While the specific provisions of each statute vary from state to state, right to farm laws generally support agriculture by limiting the ability of neighbors to bring nuisance lawsuits against farms. Accordingly, in 1982, the Pennsylvania legislature enacted the Pennsylvania Right to Farm Act, with the express purpose of limiting “the circumstances under which agricultural operations may be subject matter of nuisance suits and ordinances” as a way “to conserve and protect and encourage the development and improvement of its agricultural land for the production of food and other agricultural products."