Statement from Blake Hurst, president of Missouri Farm Bureau, concerning HB 209 heard today in the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee
“Out-of-state activist lawyers are bankrolling their agenda by bankrupting rural Missouri, and it needs to stop. Missouri farmers and ranchers are being sued multiple times for the same nuisance claims, even though their farm is in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. Richard Middleton with a law firm in Savannah, Georgia, is quoted as saying concerning nuisance litigation against farmers in Missouri as ‘It’s a gift that keeps on giving.’
It is important to point out that HB 209 and similar legislation under consideration in the state legislature does not limit anyone’s ability to sue for personal injury or the ability to sue for pollution which causes damage to neighbors’ land or water. Only nuisance suits are involved, and, since nuisance goes directly to the enjoyment of property, limiting damages to the value of the property seems eminently sensible.
We’ve had members threatened with suits for noise, for dust, for erosion and have members and friends in court for odor. None of these people are ‘corporate’ in any sense of the word, none consider themselves factory farms, and all are deserving of our concern. The bills before the legislature help balance the competing interests of all parties.”