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Farmer’s cannon fire draws complaints: Do you know the laws?

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A Michigan farmer’s cannon fire to scare the deer away has caused quite a commotion in this community. After receiving several reports of loud booming noises, the Imlay City Police Department determined the noise was coming from a farmer’s cannon.

While residents took to social media to further complain about the loud noises “heard all night,” the Imlay City Police Department said the property is out of their jurisdiction.

Cannon fire is not uncommon on farms to scare away birds and other wildlife, however the laws and restrictions vary from state to state.

In April, neighbors of a blueberry farm in Desota, Florida complained to authorities after they say they heard continuous fire. While the farmer said he was unaware of any regulation, DeSoto County Code Enforcement responded that farmers are only allowed to use an air cannon once per day.

In December, neighbors sued a Winona, Wisconsin farm for using propane-fueled cannons to scare birds away from corn. The buyers contended that that farmers had concealed their cannon fire when they were negotiating to buy a neighboring home from them. The Winona town ordinance requires cannons to be pointed at least 45 degrees away from the property lines of neighbors and to only be operated from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 1 through Oct. 1. 

In 2015, the state of Connecticut looked at adding more regulations for farmers using propane-powered cannons. Current Connecticut law requires that a farmer get a state license each year to operate a noisemaker. Propane cannons must be kept at least 500 feet away from any home and can’t be used on any field less than five acres. The state also limits the sound levels of farm cannons to no more than 80 decibels from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., and no more than 100 decibels between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Before firing off your “scarecrow,” it might be a good time to get up-to-date on local, city, and state ordinances.

Tags: Agriculture News, Farm News, Nuisance Ordinances
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