Agriculture Committee Report – week 10, 2017

SF 447 – Nuisance protection for animal feeding operations



SF 447 establishes a new section in the Iowa Code, 657.11A. The bill will provide nuisance protection for animal feeding operations as defined in Iowa Code Chapter 459, which includes confinement feeding operations and open feedlot operations. A habitual violator of Iowa environmental law (Chapter 459) does not qualify for nuisance protection.

Nuisance protection encourages producers to “adopt existing prudent and generally utilized management practices” for animal feeding operations. Nuisance lawsuits under the new section are presumed to be permanent nuisances (meaning there cannot be successive lawsuits filed for the same alleged nuisance) and any compensatory damages awarded by a judge or jury cannot exceed:

  • Any decrease in the fair market value of the property (residence, etc.).
  • Any compensatory medical damages, if the nuisance is the proximate cause of an adverse medical condition.
  • Any special damages (annoyance and loss of comfortable use and enjoyment of property), which are limited to no more than 1.5 times the decrease in fair market value of property plus medical damages.

A producer qualifies for nuisance protection unless the person suing can prove that the producer did not comply with state and federal law or did not use existing prudent and generally utilized management practices reasonable for the operation.
[3/14: 31-18 (party-line with Bowman, Kinney voting “yes”; Horn excused)]