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Sights, smells and sounds

As you ponder a move to the country, there is just so much to consider. It is easy to see it as a somewhat romantic endeavor, yet there are realities that need to be recognized before a move actually occurs.

If possible, visit the land or home you intend to buy during all four seasons, before you make the purchase. The next best thing would be to go to the place frequently so you can see how conditions change. Your observations will at least make you aware and you can make the decision with open eyes.

If it is in the summer and during hay harvesting season, you might be startled awake by haying equipment running at 4:00 in the morning. If that will upset your sensibilities, you had better think again before you buy. Farmers use the best management practices and they do not work by the clock. They gauge their time by what needs to be done and how early they can or must start their days. Does a neighbor have a rooster that crows early in the morning? You need to realize that the chicken was there before you and will not have to be removed just because you can’t sleep in. Please do not buy with the intention of putting a farmer out of business, just in case you decide later that something on a neighboring farm bothers you.



Many states have Right to Farm laws. They require a land or home buyer to sign a form that acknowledges there are sounds, sights and smells in the country that will be different than those in the city. The statement uses words to the effect that the farmer and his farming practices were on the land first. There will be noise, there will be dust, there will be odors. The buyer signs the statement saying he is going into this transaction with knowledge of the farmer’s or rancher’s rights. The buyer recognizes the farming practices are a livelihood and need not be changed to accommodate a new resident. This helps avoid lawsuits by the new buyers who may be uneducated about agricultural practices.

Although rural areas may be zoned agricultural, you should look on the land as being in a business zone — the business of agriculture — or more pointedly — the business of food production.



If you spend some time visiting the area, even hanging out near the property, you should be able to get some idea if there are noises or odors that would be bothersome to you personally. For example, manure is organic fertilizer which may be applied seasonally to area farms and that can lessen the need for synthetic fertilizers. Even though it is organic, it is still manure, and it does emit an odor. Only you can decide how much you will affected by it.

Be aware, study and learn what you are getting yourself into before you move to the country, then you will enjoy it all the more.

Peggy is part of a six-generation agricultural family in Fall River County, South Dakota. Her email is peggy@peggysanders.com.


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Peggy Sanders

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