Defending animal agriculture: Fighting back, legally

Defending animal agriculture: Fighting back, legally

Going to court costs real money, but this farm family found a new approach for funding (Part 3 of 4)

This is part three of a four-part series. Find links to other installments at the end of this story.

Leah and Kyle Broshears of Seymour, Ind., hope to launch a farming career and raise their young family on a hog farm in a secluded area of Jackson County, Ind. But not long after they applied and obtained approval to build a new 4,800-head livestock building, they were taken to court.

To hear the Broshears tell their story, watch the video here.

Washington, D.C.-based Ag lawyer and Farm Futures blogger Gary Baise wrote about the Broshears' hog operation case. You can read about similar CAFO proposals and environmental response attacks on Indiana Economic Digest online.

Leah and Kyle Broshears have set up an online gofundme account to battle a lawsuit over their proposed livestock barn in rural Jackson Co., Ind.

No one likes to be sued. When it comes to these law suits, how should agriculture respond? "You can't let the rabble rousers run you off the playing field," says Baise. But that approach, frankly, requires deep pockets. And while Indiana has a robust Right-to-Farm law, this case does not fall under that jurisdiction, since nothing has yet been built.

The Broshears are a young couple with two small children. For now they are sticking to their dream and making a stand. So far the legal battle has cost them around $40,000 and the first court hearing is not scheduled until July.

The consensus is, if they stick it out this will cost them well over $100,000, and who knows what an appeal will cost.

"The opposition, in a sense, have crowd funded their lawsuit against us," says Leah. "They are trying to bully us out of this process by crushing us with attorney fees. We would like to level that playing field."

That's why the Broshears have gone on the offense with an online GoFundMe appeal to raise legal fees to battle the activists.

'Take a stand for agriculture' >>


In one sense the Broshears are trailblazers – no one in agriculture that we know of has tried this.

"Any amount donated would be greatly appreciated and we'll do everything we can to live up to the generosity of those donations," says Kyle. Funds given above and beyond the cost of legal obligations will be donated to non-profit groups such as Indiana Ag Law Foundation, which offers litigation assistance for precedent-setting agriculture cases.

"When others hear this story they should take up arms," says Kyle. "They should take a stand for agriculture and combat some of the misinformation and lies. We feel like if we allow these people to continue to shut out agriculture, especially in our case, then this might be the template used everywhere.

"We're not ready to accept just yet that American families would prefer to import the meat served on their tables every night."

Trailblazers or not, the Broshears never asked for this fight. But they're in it now, and they could use your help.

This is part one of a four-part series. See the other installments:
Defending animal agriculture: Saving the family farm
Defending animal agriculture: Legal battle begins before building
Defending animal agriculture: Fighting back, legally (current entry)
Defending animal agriculture: What can the ag community do to help?

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