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Fight on over farm noise.  How do you get along with your nonfarming neighbours?

I saw this story from Western Canada and thought with our population base in Ontario, this would be a great issue here....Is it an issue in Ontario?  How do you handle it?

 

Thanks,

 

Joe

 

 

Fight on over farm noise.

 

Despite his land being designated as Agricultural Land Reserve and zoned exclusively for farming, Glenora farmer Dan Ferguson of Dragonfly Farm is being required to defend his right to farm.

The Farm Industry Review Board is investigating Ferguson's farming practices under the Right to Farm Act after a neighbour submitted a noise complaint with respect to his farm animals.

Ferguson has sheep, donkeys, turkeys, chickens, roosters, ducks and guinea hens on his property.

 

The Farm Industry Review Board is investigating Ferguson's farming practices under the Right to Farm Act after a neighbour submitted a noise complaint with respect to his farm animals.

Ferguson has sheep, donkeys, turkeys, chickens, roosters, ducks and guinea hens on his property.

 

As a result of the challenge the Ferguson family was forced to obtain lawyers at a cost of thousands of dollars.

"For every hour my lawyer has put into it, I've at least matched it," the farmer said this week, alluding to the time he's spent away from his daily chores to attend to the mountain of paperwork that goes along with the battle.

"I'm being challenged," he said. "I have to take it seriously."

Ferguson admitted the issue with his neighbours has dragged for much of the seven years he's had livestock at his Vaux Road farm.

"The animals are a long way from their house," he said. "It's not like they are right under their window."

Not so says the annoyed neighbour.

Michelle Connerly and Dan Feehan live across the street from Dragonfly Farms. They are the neighbours who made the complaint.

"He has guinea fowl and other noisy birds," said Connerly. "He has them cooped up right across the street, right in front of our house and also our bedroom window and we can hear them from inside."

Connerly said given the noise, they just want the animals moved elsewhere on Ferguson's 30-acre property.

"We're actually not challenging his right to farm," she said of the complaint.

"We actually support farming. We're just trying to be able to enjoy our yard and to be able to sleep with the windows open in our bedroom."

But the animals and their associated noise are part of his right to farm argues Ferguson and some of his supporters. The farmer said the only heartening thing about the situation is the support he's received from the community.

The community is more than happy to oblige.

"It's really, really disheartening that one of our farmers now has to go through the expense of proving that he has the right to farm," Judy Stafford, executive director of Cowichan Green Community said Monday afternoon. "We need to support our farmers. We need to ensure that they make a viable living and they are feeding our community. When his time needs to be taken away for this, it's outrageous."

A fan-favourite in the tight-knit Vancouver Island farming community, Ferguson has been so well supported that he is one of the only small-scale farmers around who is able to work full-time on his farm.

A supplier for numerous Vancouver Island restaurants, Nicolette Genier, a co-owner of The Community Farm Store, said Ferguson is also her supplier of salad greens and spinach.

She said he is active with the Cowichan Agricultural Society and in "everything to do with farming, food security and community."

Genier is among those leading the charge to help the Ferguson family through this rocky time.

"You've got to be able to have your animals. Every animal on that farm is part of a vertically integrated system," Genier said. "It's not just there for entertainment. It's part of the farm."

A fundraiser to help the Fergusons with their legal bills is scheduled for May 7 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Glenora Hall.

The event will feature a silent auction, live band and a cash bar.

"One of our own needs help," said Genier. "So we're going to help him."

What she hopes will come of the Ferguson case is for the Right to Farm Act to be amended to help protect farmers before they have to pay lawyers and stop working in their fields so they can fight for their right to feed the community.

"Let's get some stronger definitions here so that our farmers don't have to spend this much time on paperwork and defending themselves for something that should be just a given," she said. "As a province and as a nation we don't respect our farmers. We don't value their time. We need to support them."

Tickets are being sold in advance only at The Community Farm Store for $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under.

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This is where the people who "plan" our communities need to be aware of the importance of farming, and make wise decisions in this regard. The Farmer was there first--leave him/her alone. I believe a buffer zone should be required by developers who insist on using farmland to develop on. If a property owner chooses to buy and build near a farm, and does not have the intention to farm, they should respect the fact that there is an active farm nearby. In my opinion, they have no right to complain, they chose to live there--suck it up, or do your homework first. Educate yourself on the farming practices and decide if you're able to live there or not--don't expect the Farmer to move!
This is an example of why many farmers are now asking to stop all surplus farmhouse severances. "Right to Farm" indeed, but if you have to spend thousands to prove it, what is the use of having a toothless law such as "Right to Farm"?

Avia Eek said:
This is where the people who "plan" our communities need to be aware of the importance of farming, and make wise decisions in this regard. The Farmer was there first--leave him/her alone. I believe a buffer zone should be required by developers who insist on using farmland to develop on. If a property owner chooses to buy and build near a farm, and does not have the intention to farm, they should respect the fact that there is an active farm nearby. In my opinion, they have no right to complain, they chose to live there--suck it up, or do your homework first. Educate yourself on the farming practices and decide if you're able to live there or not--don't expect the Farmer to move!
Travelling up north I saw your Toronato urban sprall marching into farm land. Zones can change over night. Its always the way, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. People who live next to Airports complain all the time, yet the build next to them. And governments let them and the developers build, knowing full well, the conquences, the same with building over dumps, and old industrial sites. Money blinds all.

It's pretty poor, that you have to defend your rights under an act of law, when you are operating with in it. If it was me and being a small town, and you are only fighting one person. I would of got a copy of the act and posted to the person's lawyer with note saying go your hardest. Let the mongral use his money fight the issue, then get a petition around the commonunity to lobby the local member to strengthern the act. Make them look the idiot of the town. When they start wondering why no one is talking to me and feel isolated, I think they will pull their head in. Here in Ontario you wouldn't even try just sell up an move North, cheap land up here.

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