Farm Practices Conflict Resolution Process

Table of Contents

  1. What To Do When Conflict Arises
  2. Investigation Responsibilities of OMAFRA Engineers or Specialists
  3. By-law Cases

This Conflict Resolution Process is a form of alternate dispute resolution (ADR) mandated by the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (NFPPB).

Purpose of Farm Practices Conflict Resolution

The Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (NFPPB) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) established the Farm Practices Conflict Resolution Process in 2004. Its purpose is to help resolve conflicts about farm practices and reduce the need for Board hearings. The conflicts arise from nuisance complaints about odour, noise, dust, flies, light, smoke or vibration. The Process is also used for conflicts between farm practices and municipal by-laws.

What To Do When Conflict Arises

When a conflict arises, the parties (the people involved on both sides of the conflict) should try to resolve it by speaking to each other, because this usually produces the best solution. If assistance is needed, the municipality or OMAFRA should be called. The municipality may try to resolve the issue. If unsuccessful, the parties may refer the issue to OMAFRA.

OMAFRA can be reached by calling the Agricultural Information Contact Centre (AICC) at 1-877-424-1300. The AICC will refer the matter to the most appropriate OMAFRA Agricultural Engineer or Environmental Specialist. Sometimes the parties contact the regional OMAFRA office directly. In either case, the Agricultural Engineer or the Environmental Specialist will investigate. The Engineer or Specialist will speak with both parties and try to resolve the conflict. Where necessary, the Engineer or Specialist may call upon other experts as appropriate. If conflict resolution is not successful, one of the parties may apply to the NFPPB for a hearing under the Farming and Food Production Protection Act.


Before the Board considers an application for a hearing, the dispute must go through the Farm Practices Conflict Resolution Process.


Investigation Responsibilities of OMAFRA Engineers or Specialists

The table below presents a quick guide to the delineation of responsibility between Engineer and Specialist, and is used by the AICC for referring cases. If the conflict involves a fixed source, the case goes to the Engineer. If the source is temporary, the Environmental Specialist handles it.

Circumstances vary, however, and the Engineer and Specialist may decide between themselves to take a different approach in a particular case. In deciding to go against the table, however, the Engineer takes the lead and the responsibility.

Within specific geographic areas, it is important that Engineers and Specialists inform each other about normal farm practice cases they are investigating. This avoids unnecessary duplication and confusion.


Investigation Responsibilities Table
(Fixed Versus Temporary Nuisance Sources)

Nuisance: Odour


Fixed nuisance sources (OMAFRA Engineer handles):

  • Manure storages
  • Ventilation fans
  • Anaerobic digesters
  • Crop storages
  • Fixed-in-place manure or deadstock composters
  • Incinerators
 

Temporary nuisance sources (OMAFRA Environmental Specialist handles):

  • Deadstock
  • Temporary field storages
  • Field composting
  • Crop spraying
  • Pasturing animals
  • Rotting crops in field
  • Spreading

Nuisance: Noise

 

Fixed nuisance sources (OMAFRA Engineer handles):

  • Hay and crop driers
  • Irrigation pumps
  • Ventilation fans
  • Generators
  • Wind machines
  • Wind turbines
  • Bird bangers
  • Hail cannons
  • Grinding equipment

 

Temporary nuisance sources (OMAFRA Environmental Specialist handles):

  • Field equipment
  • Pasturing animals that are bawling
  • Large truck traffic
  • Barn animals squealing/squawking

Nuisance: Dust

 

Fixed nuisance sources (OMAFRA Engineer handles):

  • Red dog from driers
  • Ventilation fans
  • Grinding biomass for greenhouse heating
  • Soot from boilers

 

Temporary nuisance sources (OMAFRA Environmental Specialist handles):

  • Tillage equipment
  • Harvesting equipment

Nuisance: Others

 

Fixed nuisance sources (OMAFRA Engineer handles):

  • Flies from manure storages
  • Light from greenhouses
  • Smoke from incinerators/biomass
  • Vibration from wind machines

 

Temporary nuisance sources (OMAFRA Environmental Specialist handles):

  • Flies from animals, rotting fruit
  • Light from night harvesting
  • Smoke from burning brush
  • Vibration from field equipment

If conflict resolution proves unsuccessful, and a party wishes to apply to the NFPPB for a hearing, the Engineer or Specialist handling the case will help the party obtain an application form.

The Engineer or Specialist will then issue a report to the NFPPB Secretary, indicating whether the Conflict Resolution Process has been applied.

By-law Cases

Less than one percent of the complaints received by OMAFRA involve municipal by-laws. This is because municipalities often consult with OMAFRA when developing by-laws. Since any related conflicts involve contravention of a by-law, there is generally little room for conflict resolution.

In by-law cases, the Engineer or Specialist will consult with the regional OMAFRA Planner. Some by-law issues are related more to the Planning Act than to the FFPPA. If the Planner decides that the case involves the Planning Act, he or she will take over the case. Most Planning Act cases are outside the jurisdiction of the NFPPB.

If the by-law case involves normal farm practices, the Engineer or Specialist will proceed with the Conflict Resolution Process as in nuisance cases.

 


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Finbar Desir - Farm Implements Coordinator/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 24 July 2009
Last Reviewed: 24 July 2009