Some day-to-day farm practices can lead to nuisances or disturbances, including odours, noises and dust. These ‘nuisances’ are often temporary and pose no threat to health or public safety.
Ontario’s Farming and Food Production Protection Act sets out the process for resolving complaints against farmers arising from odour, noise, dust, light, vibration smoke or flies. Complaints can arise from neighbouring farmers and rural residents and are assigned to the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board.
The complaint is likely to be dismissed if the agriculturally-sourced complaint, like odour, noise, dust, light, vibration smoke or flies stems from a ‘normal farm practice’. If it is determined the source is not a normal farm practice then the farmer could be ordered to cease the practice outright, or modify it to make it a normal farm practice. The legislation defines a normal farm practice as a practice that:
- is conducted in a manner consistent with proper and acceptable customs and standards as established and followed by similar agricultural operations under similar circumstances, or
- makes use of innovative technology in a manner consistent with proper advanced farm management practices
Under section 2 (1.1), the Farming and Food Production Protection Act excludes practices that contravene the Nutrient Management Act, stating “A practice that is inconsistent with a regulation made under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 is not a normal farm practice.”
OFA continues to support members with information and advice on the issue of normal farm practices.