Or how a Blount County problem will screw the rest of the state.
SB1614 Signed today March 28h. .
Everyone should be familiar with the Blount County battle over whether amplified music is an agricultural use. Background here (link...)
HB1410/SB1614 seeks to change the Right to Farm Act and allow an anything goes attitude as long as it happens on a farm. HB1410 cleared the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee yesterday with only Gloria Johnson logging in a no vote.
This is nothing short of yet another big power grab by the state because under the Right to Farm Act local zoning laws just do not apply.
Farms are found within every major city limit from Chattanooga and Johnson City to Knoxville, Clarksville and Memphis. With consumer emphases being placed on locally grown food, this is a good thing!
The Right To Farm Act supersedes any local zoning ordinance.
In 2009 Tennessee passed additional and separate Agritourism codes to limit liability and help protect farmers who invite the public to their farms. They clearly spoke on the floor of pick-your-own pumpkins and corn mazes That same code clearly defines that Agritourism (protection) is for farms only in Greenbelt status and over 15 acres.
The Right to Farm Act is for all farms regardless of size or tax status. The USDA defines a farm
As defined by Congress, a farm is any agricultural operation that had $1,000 in sales in the census year or had the potential to have $1,000 in sales in the census year.
Any changes to the Right to Farm Act will apply to anyone whose property meets the USDA definition of farm. And it should! We need to protect those who feed America no matter how small in size. These days we want more local production and that is going to mean smaller acreage farms and those are not offered Greenbelt tax savings.
So, how do we protect both our food source, the farmers and those neighboring property owners from events that are clearly not farm related?
We start by dumping the bill and continuing to allow local control over local farms via local zoning regulations. That may include expanding those local zoning laws to allow the occasional big/ noisy non-production event by special permit with clear rules in place that protect all of us. Where we go from there should be up to our local communities- not big Ag, not the mega-jority controlling the state house.
(In the past hour it appears the other two bills seeking to add entertainment to the Right to Farm Act have been withdrawn.)
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