Today the Indiana Farmers Union (IFU), Family Farm Action, Public Justice and Food & Water Watch filed an amicus brief in support of plaintiffs Richard and Janet Himsel and Robert and Susan Lannon -- represented by the Hoosier Environmental Council -- to have their case, Himsel vs. Himsel, heard in front of the Indiana Supreme Court.
Earlier this year, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the defendants in the case, the owners of an 8,000 head hog operation in Hendricks County, who are supported by the Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation, an organization established by the Indiana Farm Bureau, and the Indiana Pork Producers Association.
In response to the filing, the Indiana Farmers Union, Family Farm Action, Public Justice and Food & Water Watch issued the following joint statement:
“Thanks to the earlier appellate court decision, Indiana’s Right to Farm law essentially strips independent farmers and rural residents of any sort of redress against polluting concentrated animal feeding operations. These are not farms; these are industrial facilities that produce huge profits that often go out of state and into the pockets of multinational agribusiness monopolies. Meanwhile, Indiana’s farmers and rural communities are left holding the bag--in the form of polluted air and water that these operations leave behind. They are not only a nuisance to neighbors--they are sucking the life out of entire communities.
“The Right to Farm law pits independent farmers against contract growers like the defendant. This is exactly where the Farm Bureau and Indiana Pork Producers Association want them. They represent the interests of corporate agribusiness, which continues to divide communities in pursuit of profit.
“The appellate court decision, in this case, must not be the last word on the matter, as it gives blanket immunity to corporate agribusiness interests against nuisance suits when their operations negatively affect small family farmers and other neighbors. We hope the state Supreme Court will choose to hear the case and give farmers and rural residents the chance to stand up for their rights when industrial food operations abuse surrounding communities with their unsustainable amounts of pollution.”