Legislators in the country's No. 2 hog-growing state are launching a new effort to shield industrial hog operations from neighbors who have complained for decades about the smell, noise and flies generated by housing thousands of animals together.
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The North Carolina Senate's Agriculture Committee on Tuesday unveiled language that would protect the low-cost but much-criticized method of handling hog waste by spraying it over farm fields. The legislation says farm and forestry operations couldn't be a nuisance if they're using such practices common to their industry.
A federal jury in April hit Smithfield Foods with a nearly $51 million verdict against an operation that forced North Carolina neighbors to tolerate nuisance conditions. That was cut to about $3 million because state law limits damages for corporate misdeeds.