Agriculture_Markets
Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
 
   

Sound Agricultural Practice Opinions

The Department of Agriculture & Markets issues Sound Agricultural Practices pursuant to its authority under §308 of the Agriculture & Markets Law on a case-by-case basis.

The Department is providing these opinions for informational purposes to assist in guiding local governments, farmers, and the general public. These opinions should not be construed in any way as having any legal effect on other parties or circumstances other than those subject of the opinions.

All reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that the listing of issued opinions is complete and accurate. However, for the most current information, you are advised to directly contact the Department.

No Date Issued Concern Agricultural Practice Disposition
93-17/27/1993Pesticide UseApplication and storage of pesticides only in greenhouse by certified applicators while greenhouses are closed and greenhouses remain closed 12 hours after initial pesticide application.Sound
93-17/27/1993NoiseOperation of Motorized Farm Equipment in greenhouse operation consisting of four vans, two trucks, & small tractor in good working order for farming purposes used at least several times a week.Sound
93-17/27/1993Property Value/ZoningStorage of farm equipment and materials on property for use in greenhouse production. Most equipment and materials are stored inside or at the rear of the property.Sound
93-17/27/1993Odor & Fly ControlPackaging, loading, shipment of greenhouse products in the garage and their disposal by being placed in a covered dumpster or burned in an incinerator, then shipped in vans and trucks. Sound
93-17/27/1993NoiseMovement of farm greenhouse goods and materials on a daily basis using motorized farm equipment, vans or trucks.Sound
93-29/22/1993Odor & Fly ControlStorage and disposal of chicken manure produced on egg farm every two weeks. Watering equipment is checked for leaks in poultry houses once a week. Manure spread without immediate incorporation. Unsound
93-29/22/1993Pesticide UseUse of Larvadex pesticide to inhibit fly production over a prolonged period enough to render pesticide ineffective. Unsound
93-29/22/1993Odor & Fly ControlDisposal of Dead Fowl that are incinerated every 2 or 3 days and kept uncovered in poultry houses.Unsound
93-29/22/1993Odor & Fly ControlPackaging of eggs conducted 2 times a day, seven days a week. Room is cleaned after each packing operation and packing room floor flushed with water.Inconclusive
93-310/26/1993NoiseUse of a Zon 7002 field propane air cannon to prevent crows and blackbirds from damaging melons and vegetable crops operating from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm (sunrise to sunset), firing every 10 minutes. Cannon is positioned near the center of the crop, 500 feet from the nearest house, and in a position pointed away from such residence.Sound
93-411/3/1993NoiseUse of three Maremma livestock guardian dogs for predator control on sheep farm to protect livestock. Dogs are used in conjunction with an electrified fence for predator control. Farm location has a high population of coyotes, domestic dogs, and feral dogs.Sound
94-14/18/1994Odor & Fly ControlUse of a Manure Management System associated with land spreading of lagoon stored manure and other wastes associated with farm milk house and livestock confinement operations. Barn holding manure is subjected to twice daily cleaning schedule, temporary manure storage at one end of the barn and subsequent removal of accumulated waste by-products every other day by pumping material through an underground pipe.Sound
94-14/18/1994Odor & Fly ControlLiquid manure storage lagoon approved by USDA in its design and inspection. Manure from the free-stall barn is discharged into the lagoon from a pipe located near its bottom, a crust is maintained on the surface of the lagoon to help control odors, and the suction inlet is located near the bottom of the lagoon to prevent the breakage of the crust.Sound
94-14/18/1994Odor & Fly ControlLand spreading of liquid manure from the lagoon spread during hot, humid weather not incorporated into the soil immediately after application. Unsound
94-14/18/1994Odor & Fly ControlLand spreading of liquid manure from the lagoon spread during cooler, less humid weather, incorporated into the soil immediately after application.Sound
95-110/31/1995Odor & Fly ControlUse of a Chicken manure composting system that contains a ventilation system occurring only at intervals instead of continuous ventilation. A Compost-a-Matic machine runs the length of pits and is used to turn the manure in the pit, aerates and mixes the manure. Farm has been turning the compost twice daily and Ammonia Neutralizer applied during the second turning. Oxygen levels were registered at less than 5%.Inconclusive
95-29/7/1995Water QualityUse of a manure management program which stores pig manure until it can be land applied during favorable weather conditions instead of daily spreading. Pig manure falls through the slats in the barn floor into concrete pits below. All joints in concrete have rubber seals to prevent leaking. Strip-cropping control practices are being used on the farm to reduce runoff.Sound
95-39/22/1995Livestock ControlFencing practices for dry cows surrounding ten acres supporting 2-10 cows. Fence consists of two to four strands of barbed wire attached to wooden posts. Placement of the fence allows cows direct access to stream running through the farm. Other portions are not suitable for other agricultural uses because of bush and trees in the field.Sound
96-12/27/1996Livestock ControlFencing practices consisting of the use of two strands of wire attached to metal posts electrified fencing to control large herd of animals ranging from small to large livestock. Animals have escaped in the past resulting in property damage. Inconclusive
96-23/21/1996Property Value/ZoningHedge Row and rock wall removal process to avoid damage to farmers and machinery from protruding sticks and branches, and to construct a permanent electric fence which will be used to keep livestock on the property.Sound
96-39/3/1996Property Value/ZoningConstruction of a mobile home/trailer for a farm worker and his family and having a farm worker and his family occupy the mobile home once the construction has been complete. Mobile home is to be constructed hillside so that it is partially obscured.Sound
97-11/8/1997Odor & Fly ControlPractices involving manure management system for swine facility that consists of the disposal and storage of manure through slats in barn floors and fans for ventilation. Manure is then pumped from concrete pit into trucks on the south side of the property. No spills were observed from the pumping to the transportation of the manure. Barn is washed with a pressure washer between each rotation of pigs. All joints have rubber seals to prevent leaking. Barn and fans washed once every four months.Sound
97-21/8/1997NoiseNoise concerning the morning start-up noise and the size of the equipment needed to conduct business at a nursery specifically caused by rock crushing, gravel manufacturing pneumatic hammers, front end loaders, excavators, and dump trucks. Heavy equipment is used to lift the material and load the nursery stock onto 18-wheeler tractor trailer trucks.Sound
97-35/18/1997Odor & Fly ControlTransporting animal waste from one location to another using public roads for the purpose of land application twice a day with minimal leakage of manure occurring in front of neighboring properties.Sound
97-412/18/1997Pesticide UseTillage Practices employed in relation to dust and dry and liquid pesticides agricultural chemicals for production of corn crops. Dry granular fertilizer is broadcasted and incorporated. Liquid fertilizer is placed in the planter and flows from the planter to the soil, then immediately covered with soil. Herbicides are applied in liquid form using a low pressure boom sprayer. Insecticides and fungicides are applied to the seeds before sale by the seed company. All pesticides are applied in low wind conditions measuring less than 15 mph on all instances, and mostly in wind conditions measuring less than 10 mph. Pesticides are applied at rates lower than prescribed on labels of the pesticides.Sound
97-412/18/1997Air Quality/DustTillage Practices employed in relation to dust and dry and liquid pesticides agricultural chemicals for production of corn crops. Dry granular fertilizer is broadcasted and incorporated. Liquid fertilizer is placed in the planter and flows from the planter to the soil, then immediately covered with soil. Herbicides are applied in liquid form using a low pressure boom sprayer. Insecticides and fungicides are applied to the seeds before sale by the seed company. All pesticides are applied in low wind conditions measuring less than 15 mph on all instances, and mostly in wind conditions measuring less than 10 mph. Pesticides are applied at rates lower than prescribed on labels of the pesticides.Sound
98-16/7/1998NoiseUse of a diesel powered cooling unit used for the storage of produce grown on the farm prior to travelling to markets to sell vegetable crops. Farm currently uses a diesel powered Thermo King cooling unit attached to a 46 feet long 1985 Great Dane semi trailer. Cooling unit is operated from end of July to mid October from 9:00AM to 10:00PM for approximately five hours a day. Trailer is located 141 feet from the road and over 200 feet from the nearest complainant neighbor.Inconclusive
98-211/24/1998Odor & Fly ControlComposting and land application of bio-solids practices for production of sod at the rate of 8-10 tons of compost per acre. All compost generated at the facility is used on sod fields. Sound
98-211/24/1998Water QualityComposting and land application of bio-solids practices for production of sod at the rate of 8-10 tons of compost per acre. All compost generated at the facility is used on sod fields. No leachate was discovered to be leaking from composting facility and farm is in compliance with all DEC regulations and requirements.Sound
01-13/26/2001NoiseUse of propane cannons for the protection of sweet corn crops grown on the farm cornfield from crows. Cannons are operated from used from approximately the middle of May until the middle of June, between approximately 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., set to fire 5 to 10 minutes apart. Cannons are placed at least several hundred feet from any neighboring homes. Some of the homes are screened from the cannon by woods.Sound
01-25/14/2001NoiseUse of one or two propane cannons for the protection of corn crops grown on the farm cornfield from crows. Operated from approximately the end of July until the first week of September between approximately 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., set to fire 3 to 4 minutes apart in a staggered fashion. Cannons are placed 1000 feet from neighbor's home and are screened by trees and shrubs. Cannons are used in conjunction with visual deterrents.Sound
01-25/14/2001NoiseUse of audio tapes of bird distress calls for the protection of corn crops grown on the farm cornfield from crows. Tapes go off every 1-2 minutes for a duration of 30 seconds operated from pre-dawn to about 9:30 p.m. Operated from approximately the end of July until the first week of September between approximately 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Tapes are used in conjunction with visual deterrents.Sound
01-36/14/2001Water QualityChicken manure application process on an egg farm in relation to water quality of nearby wells. Manure storage location is checked for leaks daily. Manure contains about 70-80% moisture due to the breeding of the chickens. Manure is incorporated with a moldboard plow the same day or within 3 days during July - September.Sound
01-36/14/2001Odor & Fly ControlOdor control and fly control from chicken manure and chicken parts application practices. manure was applied at a rate of approximately 10 tons per acre. Barn is cleaned twice a week. Leaks are checked for daily. Manure contains about 70-80% moisture due to the breeding of the chickens. Manure is incorporated with a moldboard plow the same day or within 3 days during July - September. Manure is not applied on Fridays or weekends. Dead fowl are not usually spread on the field, but they were in a prior incident due to inability to separate chicken parts from the manure. Larvadex pesticide is used to control flies.Inconclusive
01-48/13/2001Pesticide UseCommercial pesticide applicator hired to conduct the aerial application of insecticides and fungicides to sweet corn and vegetable crops to control insects and diseases. Spraying occurs from last week in June to mid to late September. Average spraying interval is about once every 5 days. spraying begins at first sunlight and takes up to three hours to complete.Sound
01-48/13/2001NoisePlane motor noises from the aerial application of pesticides. Propeller has been replaced to a quieter model and plane is not operated on Sundays, only for a period of 3-4 hours about once every 5 days.Sound
01-54/17/2002Odor & Fly ControlManure temporarily stored in a concrete structure with an apron to contain spillage. Weekly dragging of seven paddocks to accelerate decomposition of manure; Rotation of use of turnout paddocks to four hours each day to minimize amount of manure deposited.Sound
01-54/17/2002Water QualityManure temporarily stored in a concrete structure with an apron to contain spillage and covered with a tarp to prevent storm water from mixing with manure. Nutrients in manure is taken up and used by grass.Sound
01-54/17/2002NoiseNoise and Dust is controlled by the rotation of use of the paddocks to prevent overgrazing, overseeding and liming of grass cover. Outdoor training ring is offset from property line to reduce noise.Sound
04-16/25/2004NoiseKeeping of animals resulting in noise from donkey braying, dog barking, and rooster crowing. The farm consists of 30 buffalo, 20 deer, three to four emus, two peacocks, several turkeys and horses. Donkeys are used to keep predators away. Dogs are needed to protect the fowl from predators since their pens are not visible from the main farm house.Sound
04-16/25/2004Odor & Fly ControlOdor from a hog pen located along the property line with a neighbor. A holding pen is used to house pigs and a donkey. There were no excess piles of manure in the pen. Manure is stockpiled and spread in the Spring. Manure was currently incorporated into the soil with rocks protruding.Sound
04-16/25/2004Air Quality/DustReconditioning of riding arena resulting in dust. Riding arena is located between the driveway of the property and a neighbor, bounded by a wooden plank fences. Floor of arena is composed of sand. Inconclusive
04-16/25/2004Water QualityThe abatement of overland flow of water onto a neighbor's lawn; and proximity of animals grazing near springs/cisterns that are used by both the farmer and a neighbor. Spring houses are located at the base of a hill with trees growing behind and along side them, making it unlikely that horses and other farm animals would congregate above the spring house, although hoof prints were found near the spring houses. A singe strand barbed wire fence is in front of the spring houses to keep animals away from the spring. A diversion was installed to abate overland flow of water.Sound
04-16/25/2004LightingSpotlight illuminates the back portion of the riding arena using a halogen light. Light is currently pointed toward the back half of the arena and relocated to the garage/maintenance shed and appears to be used at night when not needed for farm purposes.Unsound
04-212/9/2004NoiseUse of a propane cannon for the protection of grape crops located several hundred feet from any property line and 2,000 feet from the nearest complainant home, near the center of the farm property. Cannon is screened by woods. Cannon is operated from the middle of July to middle of September, seven days a week, from 6:30AM to 6:30PM. Cannon is set to fire at varying intervals, and has been set to fire every 2 minutes. Cannon is also moved to different locations on the property. Cannon is used in conjunction with visual deterrents (balloons and wind socks). Disposition relates to operation of the cannon only during daylight hours and no more than 3 minute intervals.Sound
06-13/2/2006Water QualityPigs are raised on separate property 500 feet from neighbor's property. Barn entrance is 75 feet from neighbors property. Soil Quality and slope away from neighbor's land has low probability of water contamination.Sound
06-13/2/2006Odor & Fly ControlBarn with concrete floor generally cleaned in June. Area around the outdoor feeder is cleaned in the Spring. Manure from barn and feeder cleanings is spread on the pasture and is not accumulated or piled on property.Sound
06-26/9/2006NoiseUse of a propane cannon, for the protection of sweet corn crops grown by Mr. Anken on three separate parcels. Two cannons are owned, but only one is operated at a given time. Cannon is in use from middle of July to Middle of September, rotated from one field to another every 2-3 weeks. Mostly operates during daylight hours and set to fire at 3-5 minute intervals. There is little vegetative buffer between fields and residences due to population density.Sound
06-36/2/2006NoiseUse of two Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs to protect alpacas from predation. Both dogs stay in the pasture with the alpacas at all times. Pasture areas are surrounded by electrified fences. Coyotes are present in the area of the farm.Sound
07-11/23/2007NoiseUse of Great Pyrenees guard dog to protect alpacas from predators and other animals such as skunks. On average, the dog barks 4-5 nights per week for 15 minutes or more intermittently. If the dog barks for a long period of time or sounds agitated, the owner/operator checks on the dog. Dog tends to bark more during the hours of 10:00 p.m.-12:00 p.m. Property is surrounded by trees.Sound
08-12/25/2008Water QualityLivestock is rotationally grazed in five fenced, five-acre pastures. Barnyard area is only used as a winter feeding area and is generally cleaned out in the Spring. Existing solids are typically cleaned up as conditions allow and barnyard area is seeded when animals are out on pasture. Feeding area is over 100 feet to the neighboring pond at issue. The area between the winter feeding area consists of grass, brush, trees with an open canopy. Farm has installed diversions within winter feeding area and along property line to collect runoff and safely convey it away from the adjacent landowner's pond. A fence is to be installed to exclude animals from the lower section of the barnyard to allow growth of a grassed filter area.Sound
09-11/20/2009Livestock ControlThe keeping and maintaining wire fence on the property line. Fence consists of at least 5 strands of wire attached to wooden posts. Sound
09-11/20/2009Property Value/ZoningCorralling and maintaining farm animals within 100 feet of the property line. Animals are rotated between two pastures to prevent over-grazing. Feed supplements pasture with two or three 4x4 foot round bales of hay. Grain is fed to cattle each morning and evening.Sound
09-11/20/2009Property Value/ZoningThe keeping and maintaining “no trespassing, or any other signs without a valid sign permit. No trespassing signs are typically used to help safeguard public from livestock and equipment on farm. No injuries have resulted since the use of these signs. Sound
09-11/20/2009Property Value/ZoningThe removal of plants/trees within a State regulated wetland, disrupting the residential buffer. Removal of understory trees and brush accommodates animal and farm equipment movement within the property.Sound
09-11/20/2009Property Value/ZoningStorage of farm equipment on the upland portion of property consisting of parking, storing, or otherwise maintaining commercial vehicles, trailers, campers, storage sheds, farm equipment, or other equipment or machinery in such a way as to be visible from the adjoining property/from the street. Equipment is stored on better drained soils rather than the poorly drained soils present throughout the remainder of the property.Sound
10-16/9/2010Air Quality/DustThe release “fugitive" bees’ wings or chaff from the grain handling and drying. Field corn is harvested and trucked to grain storage facility, where it is unloaded into a wet holding bin using a grain auger. Wet corn is then conveyed to a grain dryer via a second auger and once dried, transferred via third auger to a galvanized grain bin where it is fan cooled and stored until sold. Corn dryer is located 700 feet east of complainant neighbor's residence. Grain corn is currently conveyed to various corn bins and corn drier via a series of PTO driven augers. Farm plans to install "grain­leg" handling system which is a self-contained system of baskets on a conveyor type system all enclosed in sealed aluminum piping. The grain leg system is powered via a series of electric motors, rather than a tractor PTO under the current auger system. In order to mitigate the effects, farm has placed canvas tarps around each exposed portion of the corn conveyance system and installed an extension piece of rubber inner tube on the truck-loading auger, and installed constructed additional wind breaks out of cabbage boxes at various locations of his grain handling facility as a safeguard. Significant amounts of chaff and bees' wings are not given an opportunity to accumulate and remain outside of grain bins and grain handling equipment.Sound
10-26/9/2010Property Value/ZoningThe maintenance of a new farm access driveway and the alleged impact of the driveway built to accommodate the movement of farm trucks and other agricultural equipment. Drain tile was installed across the driveway to help reduce surface water flow. Tile was backfilled with stone to increase the infiltration rate. Surface water from driveway is redirected into a pond on the property. The mud accumulated on the road is cleaned with a sweeper about once a month.Sound
10-38/17/2010NoiseUse of three Maremma livestock guardian sheepdogs to protect small livestock consisting of chickens, turkeys, ducks, goats, sheep and one cow in a greenhouse and on pasture located adjacent to the greenhouse from predation. Farm has not installed fencing or enclosures to keep in poultry. Farm is located in an area with foxes, coyotes, hawks, minks and fishers.Sound
11-111/22/2011NoiseUse of two Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs to protect livestock from predation. Farm also uses a low impedance three strand high voltage fence in conjunction. Donkeys and the use of the electrified fencing alone has proven ineffective. Sound
12-12/14/2012NoiseUse of a propane cannon for the protection of grape crops located approximately 1/3 mile from the nearest residence and is screened by a wooded hedgerow. Cannon fires every 8-10 minutes from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm from mid-August to the end of September. Cannon is periodically moved throughout vineyard. Farm also uses visual deterrents in conjunction with cannons.Sound
13-12/12/2013NoiseUse of a Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dog to protect flock of alpacas from predation and to protect alpacas from the encroachment of deer carrying meningeal worm infections. Barn and property is located approximately 20-30 feet in vertical distance from the road and the property is screened by vegetation. Property is also enclosed by a fence. Livestock guardian dog is held in a paddock with the alpacas and is tethered to the barn.Sound
13-25/14/2013NoiseUse of a propane cannon for the protection of blueberries and Christmas trees from deer. Cannon is designed to rotate 360 degrees, but has been tied down with a rope so that it would only fire in the direction of the vegetable garden, and not in the direction of neighbor homes. Cannon was set to fire at an angle of 90 degrees from the location of the blueberries. Cannon is located approximately 525 feet from the blueberries. Cannon is operated from the middle of July until the end of September from 7:00 AM to 8:30 PM. Each firing period is between half an hour to one hour, ranging from 1 to 7 minutes apart. Garden areas are fenced. The cannon is housed by a metal roofing.Inconclusive
16-12/16/2016NoiseUse of a Great Pyrenees Mountain livestock guardian dog in an area with high coyote and fox population to protect farm's sheep from predation. Beef and sheep are rotationally grazed using permanent and temporary fencing to define the boundaries of each pasture. Sheep are moved every 3-5 days. Dog is not a habitual barker and only barks when dog senses danger.Sound
17-18/8/2017Odor & Fly ControlUse of hog pens near a neighboring property having a dug trench parallel to the row of enclosures and a dry hydrant near the front right corner of each pen to provide fresh water. Hay and grain is supplied to the hogs to help control odor and flies. Pens are cleaned every week or two to help control odor. Manure is collected and hauled to backyard of residence where it is composted and used to fertilize mulch his gardens and outdoor plants. Manure is spread on the farm field if there is too much manure to compost.Sound
17-18/8/2017Water QualityUse of hog pens near a neighboring property having a dug trench parallel to the row of enclosures and a dry hydrant near the front right corner of each pen to provide fresh water. Pens are set back about 164+ feet from the closest neighboring well to the farm. Field generally is level and has a slope of less than 2%. The water from the well, when tested contained a low level of 0.03 mg/L of Nitrates.Sound
17-29/20/2017NoiseUse of two Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs to protect a flock of sixty-two ewes and three rams from predation in an area with a visible coyote and fox presence and a history of loss of livestock by eagles. Dogs are rotated with the sheep between three pastures consisting of fifteen, twenty, and seven acres with new electric wire fencing.Sound

Related Decisions Summary

Case Highest Court Last Decision Issued Date Claims Disposition
In the Matter of Pure Air and Water Inc of Chemung County v. Davidsen Appellate Division, Third Department 1/15/1998 (1) AML §308 is unconstitutional because it does not provide notice and hearing in violation of the Due Process Clause;
(2) Issuance of an opinion under AML §308 violates SEQRA;
(3) Opinion was arbitrary or capricious.
(1) There is no property interest in having the right to have a court determine the merits of a private nuisance suit;
(2) Issuance of a sound agricultural practice opinion is not an action within the meaning of SEQRA because it is an assessment not license or permit to act, and further exempt from review as related to agricultural farm management practices;
(3) Commissioner's opinion was not arbitrary or capricious based on a failure to seek DEC review of the impact on water quality or perform independent tests.
In the Matter of Groat v. Brennan Supreme Court, Albany County 11/17/2006 (1) Determination is not supported by the facts;
(2) Commissioner improperly imposed burden of proof on Petitioner to show that the use of dogs was not a sound agricultural practice;
(3) AML §308 is unconstitutional in violation of due process.
(1) Determination was rational based on the facts before the agency;
(2)The burden was properly shifted to the Petitioner to show that the use of dogs was not a sound agricultural practice after the Commissioner was presented with prima facie evidence showing the practice was sound;
(3) There is no property right in having a court determine a private nuisance suit.