Volume 73, Number 5

November 1998

The Right to Farm: Hog-Tied and Nuisance-Bound

Alexander A. Reinert

While RTFs are widespread and radically restructure common law property rights, RTF proponents have glossed over any potential issues of unfairness and have suggested changes in order to strengthen perceived weaknesses in protection afforded by the laws. Commentators have paid little attention to the effects RTFs have had on conflicts between landowners in traditionally agrarian communities. In an attempt to begin the type of critical examination demanded by RTFs, this Note discusses RTFs as they currently exist and offers empirical and theoretical critiques of their structure. Part I summarizes the doctrinal and regulatory framework in which RTFs emerged, including the current condition of farms in the United States. Part II describes the current RTFs and discusses some of the explanations offered to justify RTFs. Part III offers a critique of RTFs from several perspectives, integrates this critique with the conflicts between urban and rural land use, and suggests changes to RTFs in an attempt to tailor the statutes more closely to the perceived problems of urban encroachment.