CGA Law News & Blog

Estate Planning for Farm Families Part 2: Protecting the Farm

access_time Posted on: June 13th, 2024

From Attorney Tim Bupp, chair of the CGA Law Firm Estate Law practice group.

Farming is Pennsylvania’s number-one industry, producing significant benefits for the Commonwealth. It not only sustains the livelihood and well-being of those who make their living in farming but also serves as an economic engine, driving sectors such as agricultural technology, food processing, and transportation. This ensures that our citizens have access to food and other farm products.  However, our changing world continues to create tension between the farm activities of farming and non-farming residents who reside within farming communities, who love and benefit from the country’s open spaces and beauty but may object to the byproducts of farming.

1.     Farming Can Affect Neighbors!  Farm operations are often animal-intensive, and along with animals comes the odors of manure used as fertilizers, the noise and dust that result from farms and farm equipment, and other impacts on neighbors.  Farms are heavily regulated by the State and Federal Departments of Agriculture to ensure that farm runoff does not negatively impact the water table, the local system of streams and rivers, and the nearby Chesapeake Bay.  Farmers work hard to ensure that their farm activities comply with these regulations for the good of us all.  Farm neighbors and farmers must be aware that some local impacts, such as odors, flies, and other insects, are unavoidable and that farmers have protection under the law for their activities. 

2.   The PA Right to Farm Law: A Shield of Protection. The Pennsylvania Right to Farm Law is a crucial tool designed to safeguard farmers and their agricultural activities from being hindered by nuisance suits from non-farm neighbors who may not be accustomed to the odors and other impacts that result from farming.  For farmers who have successfully enrolled their farms in their local municipality’s Agricultural Security Area, the Right-to-Farm Law provides a robust defense against such nuisance lawsuits that could disrupt normal agricultural operations.  To qualify, farms need to be enrolled for over a year in the ASA and meet the Commonwealth’s regulations for operation, such as maintaining an up-to-date nutrient management plan to benefit from the Law.  Successful enrollment in the ASA is not just a formality, it is a shield that protects your farm.

3.        The ACRE Program: An Extra Layer of Protection. In some instances, farmers may need additional protection from non-farming neighbors, who may organize their opposition to farming and create local ordinances that are unfair to farmers or discriminatory to farm operations.  Examples of this are laws which prohibit ownership of farms in entities such as LLCs, or which severely restrict farm vehicle traffic, area of operation, types of farms, or adversely regulate other normal agricultural operations. Pennsylvania recognizes that farming is worthy of protection from such adverse actions and created the ACRE (Agriculture, Communities, and Rural Environment) Law to prohibit unfair local regulation of farm activities. The ACRE Program is not just a program, it’s an extra layer of protection that reassures you and supports your farm.  Local ordinances can be reviewed by the Attorney General’s office, which is empowered to mediate a correction of unfair laws where possible or to take legal action where mediation is unsuccessful. Farm families need to be aware of their options when planning for their future and can benefit from the help of an experienced attorney who will provide sound advice and then stand behind their service.  CGA Law Firm can help you with all of your legal matters. 

Tim Bupp has practiced for twenty-five years with CGA Law Firm in estate planning, estate administration, and elder law. Tim is an Accredited Estate Planner (AEP) by the American Association of Estate Planning Councils and a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys. He is certified in Estate Planning and Pension Law Planning by the Temple University Beasley School of Law, from which he also holds a Master of Laws degree in Tax Law. He also holds a JD from the Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law, an MBA from York College of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State. Tim has chaired the Estate Law Section of CGA Law Firm for ten years, where he is a shareholder.  Reach Tim at [email protected] or 717.848.4900. 

CGA Law Firm Attorney Tim Bupp

Timothy Bupp

Estate Law Chair, Shareholder

Timothy J. Bupp is a Shareholder with CGA Law Firm and chairs the Firm’s Estate Law Section. He provides clients with specialized advice in Estate Planning, Business and tax planning, Real Estate transactions and related matters. Tim assists his clients by utilizing the knowledge he gained from his advanced degrees in business administration, business taxation, and law, as well as his certifications in estate planning and employee benefits taxation.

Read Tim’s Bio Page in full HERE.