Pig in the Parlor instead of the Barnyard - An Examination of Iowa Agricultural Nuisance Law, A Note

Leah A. Hill, Fordham University School of Law


In a state like Iowa, with an economy heavily reliant on agriculture and related industries, it is expected that agricultural issues will be at the forefront of news and policy debates. This expectation has proven to be true. Iowa, in the past several years, has wrestled with various agricultural issues resulting from the confluence of increased population in rural areas, public awareness and increased protection of the environment, and the progression toward the use of large-scale production facilities as a means of competing with other states in agricultural industries, most notably in livestock production. One area in which the debate has been extremely intense is agricultural nuisance law. Increased movement of "nonfarm" people from urban to rural areas, combined with the expansion of agriculture production, has resulted in an increased number of disputes among neighbors over alleged nuisances involving odor from livestock production facilities. This Note is intended to provide an overview of Iowa agricultural nuisance law and examine attempts by the Iowa legislature to reduce the possible effects of nuisance suits on livestock producers. Part II of this Note will address general nuisance law principles in Iowa and specific application of those principles to agricultural nuisance cases. Part III will discuss Iowa's right-to farm statutes in existence before the 1995 legislative session and analyze the validity of those laws. Part IV will discuss the addition of section 657.11 to Iowa nuisance law and its possible ramifications.