Farmers hoping a landmark challenge to Wisconsin's Right To Farm law was over may be disappointed.
Recently, the District 3 Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court's ruling in favor of the Sawyer County cranberry grower who had been sued for being an environmental nuisance. The state says they won't appeal, but the landowners who initiated the suit now say they will appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Greenwood-area farmer Bill Herr has been farming since 1971. He currently serves on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Dairy Promotion and Research Board. He says the Right to Farm legislation protects farmers from "nuisance" lawsuits. He says it's important to make sure the law is upheld in this case, because many non-farmers may consider the day to day operations of a farm a nuisance.
Herr says there are some definite "gray areas" when it comes to farmers being a nuisance to their neighbors, but they try to be good stewards of the land. They already follow regulations on the spreading of manure and erosion issues, and are self-funding studies.
Ag-advocates say Right To Farm is especially important with increasing urban sprawl; they say farmers shouldn't be sued as long as they're following current rules and regulations.