WVC 19 -
CHAPTER 19. AGRICULTURE.
WVC 19 - 19 -
ARTICLE 19. PRESERVATION OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION.
WVC 19 - 19 - 1
§19-19-1. Purpose; public policy.
Whereas, Agricultural production of food and fiber is a
basic necessity to sustain human life, and essential to the
general welfare and stability of this state and the citizens
thereof, and the continued conduct of the utilization of land in
the conduct of agricultural production, including woodland and
forestry production, is a necessity to the welfare and common
good of all of the citizens of this state; and,
Whereas, The infringement upon agricultural lands and
agricultural operations by other uses and occupancies which are
either adverse or incompatible with the continued agricultural
utilization may be of such nature as to endanger orderly
agricultural production, it is hereby declared to be the public
policy of this state that agricultural production and the
utilization of land in agricultural productive operations be
protected and preserved.
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For the purposes of this article:
(a) "Agriculture" shall mean the production of food, fiber
and woodland products, by means of cultivation, tillage of the
soil and by the conduct of animal, livestock, dairy, apiary,
equine or poultry husbandry, and the practice of forestry,
sylviculture, horticulture, or any other plant or animal
production and all farm practices related, usual or incidental
thereto, including the storage, packing, shipping and marketing,
but not including any manufacturing, milling or processing of
such products by other than the producer thereof.
(b) "Agricultural land" shall mean not less than five acres
of land and the improvements thereupon, used or usable in the
production of food, fiber or woodland products of an annual value
of one thousand dollars or more, by the conduct of the business
of agriculture, as defined in subsection (a) of this section.
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§19-19-3. Temporary change of agricultural operations.
The change of agricultural land use to a differing
agricultural use, including rotation or lying fallow from time to
time, shall not constitute abandonment as agricultural land or
limit the change to any other agricultural use.
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§19-19-4. Agriculture not adverse; limitation of actions.
The conduct of agriculture upon agricultural land shall not
be deemed adverse to other use or uses of adjoining or
neighboring land, whether such other land be used or occupied for
residential, commercial, business or for governmental, or any
uses other than agricultural. No complaint or right of action
shall be maintained in any court of this state against the owner
or operator of agricultural lands adverse to the conduct of
agriculture upon agricultural lands, unless:
(1) The complainant's use and occupancy of land of the
complainant has existed upon his adjoining or neighboring land
before the agricultural operation complained of upon the
agricultural land; and
(2) The conduct of such agricultural operation complained of
has caused or will cause actual physical damage to the person or
property of the owner or occupant of such adjoining or
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§19-19-5. Duties of owner or operator maintained.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to excuse or
relieve the owner or operator of any agricultural lands from any
other right or duty as to any other person or persons, and shall
apply only to the right to conduct the practice of agriculture
upon his agricultural lands, and the rights and duties of such
owner or operator shall be in all other respects maintained as to
any other person or persons or entity.
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§19-19-6. Liability for damage or destruction of sylvicultural or
agricultural field test crop; damages.
(a) Any person or legal entity who willfully and knowingly
damages or destroys, or allows an instrumentality within his or her
control to damage or destroy a sylvicultural or agricultural field
test crop that is grown for personal purposes, commercial purposes,
or for testing or research purposes in the context of a product
development program in conjunction or coordination with a private
research facility or a university or any federal, state or local
government agency, shall be liable for twice the market value of
the crop damaged or destroyed prior to damage or destruction, as
determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, plus interest and
reasonable court costs. Where the damaged or destroyed crops are
grown for testing or research purposes, damages shall also include
twice the actual damages relating to production, research, testing,
replacement and crop development costs directly related to the crop
that has been damaged or destroyed.
(b) The rights and remedies available under this section are
in addition to any other rights or remedies otherwise available in
law or statute.
(c) For the purpose of this section, the term "person" means
an individual or any nongovernmental group, association,
corporation or any other nongovernmental entity.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session