Agricultural Business

Did you know that the Town of Dudley has the 2nd Highest Agriculturally Protected Lands, next to Amherst, MA?

Image of Cows on a farm

Did you know that the Town of Dudley actually has a Bylaw on the books, effective May 2016 that considers Farming a Right!

Farming and Dudley are synonymous with each other. Clean Air, Clean Water and preservation efforts have allowed Dudley to be at the forefront of supporting farming operations and family farms. If you have an agricultural type business that is dependent on good farm land, good clean water and agriculture in general, You need to visit Dudley and consider moving your operations here.

Dudley Right to Farm Bylaw
Section 1.Legislative Purpose and Intent-

The purpose and intent of this Bylaw is to state with emphasis the Right to Farm accorded to all citizens of the Commonwealth under Article 97 of the Constitution, and all statutes and regulations thereunder including but not limited to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40A§3, Paragraph 1; Chapter 90§ 9, Chapter 111§125A and Chapter 128§1A. We the citizens of the Town of Dudley restate and republish these rights pursuant to the Town’s authority conferred by Article 89 of the Articles of the Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution (“Home Rule Amendment”).
This General Bylaw encourages the pursuit of agriculture, promotes agriculture-based economic opportunities and protects farmlands within the Town of Dudley by allowing agricultural uses and related activities to function with minimal conflict with abutters and local agencies. This bylaw shall apply to all jurisdictional areas within the Town.

Section 2. Definitions:

Farm: The word “farm” or “agricultural” or their derivatives shall include, but not be limited to the following:

  • Farming in all its branches and the cultivation and tillage of the soil;
  • Dairying;
  • Production, cultivation, growing and harvesting of any agricultural, aqua cultural, floricultural, viticultural or horticultural commodities;
  • Growing or harvesting of forest products upon forest land, and any other forestry of lumbering operations;
  • Raising of livestock, including horses;
  • Keeping of horses; and
  • Keeping and raising of poultry, pigeons, swine, cattle, sheep goats, ratites (such as emus, ostriches, rheas) and camelids (such as llamas and camels), and other domesticated animals for food and other agricultural purposes, including bees and fur-bearing animals.

“Farming” shall encompass activities including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Operation and transportation of slow-moving farm equipment over roads within the Town;
  • Control of pests, including, but not limited to, insects, weeds, predators and disease organisms of plants and animals;
  • Application of manure, fertilizers and pesticides. Organic farming is encouraged;
  • Conducting agriculture-related educational and farm-based recreational activities, including agri-tourism, provided that the activities are related to the agricultural output or services of the farm;
  • Processing, slaughtering and packaging of the agricultural output of the farm and the operation of a farmers’ market or farm stand including signage thereto;
  • Maintenance, repair, or storage or seasonal equipment, or apparatus owned or leased by the farm owner or manager and used expressly for the purpose of propagation, processing, management, or sale of the agricultural products; and
  • On-farm relocation of earth and the clearing of ground for farming operations.
Section 3. Right to Farm Declaration:

The Right to Farm is hereby recognized to exist with the Town of Dudley. The above described agricultural activities may occur on holidays, weekdays, and weekends by night or day and shall include the attendant incidental noise, odors, dust and fumes associated with normally accepted agricultural practices. It is hereby determined that whatever impact may be caused to others through the normal practice of agriculture is more than offset by the benefits of farming to the neighborhood, community and society in general. The benefits and protections of this Bylaw are intended to apply exclusively to those agricultural and farming operations and activities conducted in accordance with generally accepted agricultural practices. Moreover, nothing in this Right to Farm Bylaw shall be deemed as acquiring any interest in land or as imposing any land use regulation, which is properly the subject to state statute, regulation, or local zoning law.

Section 4. Precedence

In the event of conflict between this Bylaw and all other town regulations, this Bylaw shall take precedence. In the event of conflict between this Bylaw and federal or state law, federal or state law shall take precedence respectfully.

Section 5. Resolution of Disputes

Any person who seeks to complain about the operation of a farm, or its effects may, notwithstanding any other available remedy, file a grievance with the Board of Selectmen, The Building Inspector, Zoning Board of Appeals, Conservation Commission or Board of Health, depending on the nature of the grievance. The filing of the grievance does not suspend the time within which to pursue any other available remedies that the aggrieved may have.

Section 6. Severability Clause

If any part of this Bylaw is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the remainder of this Bylaw. The Town of Dudley hereby declares the provisions of this Bylaw to be severable.

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