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Clash Over `Rural Environment'

NEW YORK'S farmers are lobbying for right-to-farm laws to protect them from urban second-home buyers who want those marvelous rural views without the odors and noises that go with country life. Rick Zimmerman, the New York Farm Bureau's director of governmental relations, says farmers need protection from ``the suburban fringe that continues to push out into the country.'' He says part of what his group is pushing for is to ``fully inform new residents what to expect when they come in.''

Farmers across the nation have been subjected to public nuisance suits - one Illinois farmer was even arrested for operating his tractor at night - because nonfarm neighbors object to farming activities, Mr. Zimmerman says.

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Too often, ``nonfarmers are willing to live in a rural environment but not willing to accept the characteristics of the rural environment,'' Zimmerman says. ``If they were better informed before they signed on the dotted line it wouldn't be as much of an issue.''

At present state law prevents a local government from passing ordinances that would restrict normal farming activities unless the issue has public health implications.

Meanwhile, various local incarnations of right-to-farm laws are being pressed around the state as suburban populations push into the country.

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