If you are thinking about moving to the country, you might want to consider this...
Does congested traffic, noise and the hassles at your current residence make you want to move? Does the thought of clean fresh air and country stillness make you dream about owning a home next to farmland? Do you envision moving to the country to be surrounded by natural scenery and panoramic views? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you should reflect on the realities of living in the country.
The Value of Pennsylvania Agriculture
Agriculture is Pennsylvania's #1industry and annually contributes 4.5 billion to PA's economy. Advances in modern agriculture enable farmers across our country to provide safe and nutritious food at affordable prices. PA agriculture production includes livestock and grain production. It also includes mushroom production, forestry, aquaculture, fruits, vegetables, bees and honey, maple syrup and more. Producers of all these commodities follow detailed rules and regulations in an effort to protect the environment and water quality.
Pennsylvania's Right to Farm Act
The Pennsylvania's Right to Farm Act protects our valuable agriculture industry. The Act protects many farm practices that may lead to conflict with neighbors. These normal practices include, but at not limited to:
- odor from livestock an poultry
- odor from land application of manure
- agriculture vehicle traffic
- mushroom production
Things to Keep in Mind Before Moving
Living in the country involves new sights, sounds and odors, and may not include services or conveniences found in more urban areas.
- Manure/Pesticides/Chemical Fertilizers - These are typically applied on farm fields in controlled rates to maximize crop yields.
- Odor - Odors can be generated from animal housing facilities, manure storages and land applications of manure.
- Dust/Flies - Dust arises from fields and farm lanes. Flies may be present.
- Slow moving vehicles - Farm equipment is large and cannot drive fast. We all must share the roads, even during "rush" hour.
- Modern Buildings - Animals are often raised in modern, metal barns that protect animals from predators and airborne disease, and provide efficient ways to feed and care for the animals.
- Private Wells - in rural areas, you may have a private well on your property for drinking water. Be careful not to contaminate it.
- Septic Systems - Rural housing may not include public sewer. Many landowners have private septic systems and drain fields which require periodic maintenance.
- Noise - Each year, farmers have a narrow window in which to plant and harvest. Agricultural production can take place 24 hours/day.
- Local Government Structure - In PA, land use and zoning are determined in a local township or borough, run by elected officials. Smaller municipalities may not have full-time police coverage or office staffing.
Animal Manure -- A Valuable Resource
Animal manure is a valuable organic fertilizer resource to Pennsylvania farmers, not a waste product. Application of manure to cropland is an integral aspect of agricultural production. Odors resulting from manure application are an acceptable and normal agricultural practice.
What Can Rural Neighbors Do to Keep Agriculture Viable
- Communicate with your neighboring farmer. If you have a special event planned, coordinate with the farmer to see if he/she can refrain from manure application at that time.
- Refrain from unwarranted complaints to local, state and federal governments about normal and acceptable agricultural practices.
- Refrain from filing lawsuits aimed at curtailing farming practices.
- In order to avoid damaging crops and/or disrupting farming operations, always receive permission from farmers before entering their property.
- Never use a farmer's fields as a dumping ground for grass clippings, leaves, household chemicals, containers, old tools, etc.
- Do not ride ATVs or dirt bikes on farmer's fields. Even if the field looks empty, most farmers have crops growing year-round.
- Always ask permission before entering livestock barns. Most facilities are "biosecure". Without following proper protocol, your presence could threaten the health of the animals.