TITLE XL
AGRICULTURE, HORTICULTURE AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Chapter 432
SOIL CONSERVATION AND FARMLAND PRESERVATION

Implementation of the Federal Soil Conservationand Domestic Allotment Act

Section 432:1

    432:1 Definitions. –
When used in this subdivision, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
I. "Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act" means the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act enacted by the Congress of the United States, as amended.
II. "Secretary of Agriculture" means the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States.
III. "Department" means the department of agriculture, markets, and food of the state of New Hampshire.
IV. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the department of agriculture, markets, and food of the state of New Hampshire.

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1995, 130:4, eff. July 23, 1995.

Section 432:2

    432:2 State Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food to Administer. – In order to carry out the purposes of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act enacted by the Congress of the United States, the department of agriculture, markets, and food of the state of New Hampshire is hereby designated as the agency of the state of New Hampshire to administer any state plan authorized under this subdivision which shall be approved by the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States for the state of New Hampshire pursuant to the provisions of said Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act.

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1995, 130:4, eff. July 23, 1995.

Section 432:3

    432:3 State Plan. – The department is hereby authorized, empowered and directed to formulate and submit to the Secretary of Agriculture, in conformity with the provisions of said Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act , a state plan for each year. It shall be the purpose of each such plan and each such plan shall be designed to promote such utilization of land and such farming practices as the department finds will tend, in conjunction with the operation of such other plans as may be approved for other states by the Secretary of Agriculture, to preserve and improve soil fertility and soil health; to promote adaptation to changes in climate and environment; to promote the economic use and conservation of land; to diminish exploitation and wasteful and unscientific use of natural soil resources; to protect rivers and waterways against the results of soil erosion and aid in flood control; and to reestablish and maintain the ratio between the purchasing power of the net income per person on farms and that of the income per person not on farms, as defined in subsection (a) of section 7 of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act. Each such plan shall provide for adjustments in utilization of land, and in farming practices through agreements with producers or through other voluntary methods, and for benefit payments in connection therewith, and for such methods of administration not in conflict with any law of the state, and for such reports as the Secretary of Agriculture finds necessary for the effective administration of the plan, and for ascertaining whether the plan is being carried out according to its terms.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985. 2021, 167:1, eff. Sept. 28, 2021.

Section 432:4

    432:4 Grants. – Upon the acceptance of each such plan by the Secretary of Agriculture and his approval of the plan, the department is authorized and empowered to accept and receive all grants of money made, pursuant to the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act, for the purpose of enabling the state to carry out the provisions of such plan. All such moneys shall be paid into a special fund in the state treasury to be known as the soil conservation fund, which fund is hereby established. The appropriations made from such fund shall be available to the department for expenditures necessary in carrying out the plan, including administrative expenses, expenditures in connection with educational programs and research programs in aid of the plan, and for benefit payments, as provided in said appropriations.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985.

Section 432:5

    432:5 Powers and Duties of Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food. – In carrying out the provisions of this subdivision and of each such plan, the department shall have power to designate administrative areas; to provide for the selection or election of local, county, and state committees of persons participating or cooperating in the plan; to employ such agents or agencies and to establish such agencies as it may find to be necessary; to cooperate with local and state agencies and with agencies of other states and of the federal government; to arrange with the university system of New Hampshire for the conduct of such research and educational activities in connection with the formulation and operation of such plan as may appear advisable; to enter into agreements with producers and to provide by other voluntary methods for adjustment in the utilization of land and in farming practices, and for payments in connection therewith, in amounts which the department determines to be fair and reasonable. In carrying out each such plan, the department and the commissioner are authorized to delegate any of the powers herein conferred to such agency as may be designated by the commissioner and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture.

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1995, 130:4, eff. July 23, 1995.

Section 432:6

    432:6 Annual Report. – The department, in its annual report, shall cover the administration of such plan and its operations for each year, including the expenditures of funds.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985.

Section 432:7

    432:7 Limitation. – The department shall have no authority to incur any obligation or liability against the state of New Hampshire under this subdivision for the expenditure of funds other than the expenditure of funds payable from the soil conservation fund, pursuant to the appropriations made therefor.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985.

Conservation Districts

Section 432:8

    432:8 Declaration of Policy. – It is hereby declared to be the policy of the state to provide for the establishment of conservation districts under the supervision of a state conservation committee, said districts to be composed of landowners and land occupiers within the district, who may join together in the interest of the health, conservation, and development of the soil, water, and related natural resources; preventing soil erosion, floodwater and sediment damages; promoting soil health practices, drought resilience, and adaption to changes in climate and environment. It is the intent of this subdivision to facilitate the joint effort of landowners, land occupiers, and units of government in carrying out measures for the conservation and development of lands within the district, voluntarily and with such assistance as may be available for this purpose from local, state, or federal governmental agencies.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985. 2021, 167:2, eff. Sept. 28, 2021.

Section 432:9

    432:9 Definitions. –
As used in this subdivision the following words shall have the following meanings:
I. "Adaptation" means the process of adjustment to actual or scientifically projected conditions.
II. "District" or "conservation district" means the territory included within the boundaries of a county, organized in accordance with the provisions of this subdivision.
III. "Land occupier" or "occupier of land" includes any person who shall hold title to, or shall be in lawful possession of, any parcel of land lying within a district organized under the provisions of this subdivision.
IV. "District supervisor" or "supervisor" shall mean a member of the governing body appointed in accordance with the provisions of this subdivision.
V. "Soil health" means the overall composition of the soil, including the amount of organic matter in and water holding capacity of the soil, and the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans.
VI. "Healthy soils practices" mean agricultural practices that improve the health of soils, including but not limited to consideration of depth of topsoil horizons, water infiltration rate, organic carbon content, nutrient content, bulk density, biological activity, biological and microbiological diversity, and minimization of bare ground.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985. 2021, 167:3, eff. Sept. 28, 2021.

Section 432:10

    432:10 State Conservation Committee. – There is hereby established to serve as an agency of the state a conservation committee, which shall consist of 12 members: the director of the university of New Hampshire cooperative extension, or designee; the director of the state agricultural experiment station, or designee; the state commissioner of agriculture, markets, and food, or designee; the commissioner of the department of natural and cultural resources, or designee; the commissioner of the department of environmental services, or designee; the executive director of the department of fish and game, or designee; the executive director of the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Commissions; and 5 appointed members, all of whom shall be district supervisors or former district supervisors who shall be from counties as follows: one from Coos or Grafton; one from Belknap or Carroll; one from Cheshire or Sullivan; one from Hillsborough or Merrimack; one from Rockingham or Strafford. The supervisor or former supervisor members shall be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the council to serve 4 years respectively from August 1 and until their successors are appointed and qualified; provided, however, that of the first appointments made under this section, 2 members shall be appointed to serve for a term of 2 years and the other 3 members shall be appointed for a term of 4 years. Advisory committee members shall serve without vote and shall include the state conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture, and others appointed by the state conservation committee as deemed appropriate. Vacancies shall be filled for unexpired terms. The committee shall elect its own chairperson from one of the 5 appointees. The members of the committee shall serve without compensation, but the appointees shall be entitled to expenses, including traveling expenses, necessarily incurred in the discharge of their duties. It may adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, necessary for the execution of its functions under this subdivision and shall keep a record of its official actions. Within the limits of the appropriation it may employ such employees as it requires and fix their compensation subject to the rules of the division of personnel.

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1990, 43:1. 1995, 130:5; 134:21; 206:1, eff. Aug. 11, 1995.

Section 432:11

    432:11 Duties. –
The state conservation committee shall:
I. Offer assistance to the supervisors of districts in formulating and carrying out any of their programs.
II. Keep the supervisors of each district informed of the activities of all other districts and facilitate an interchange of advice, experience and cooperation among such districts.
III. Coordinate the programs of the several districts so far as this may be done by advice and consultation.
IV. Seek the cooperation and assistance of the United States, of this state, and of town and county governments, in the work of such districts, and receive funds from such agencies or from any other source, and use such funds to carry out the purposes of the state conservation committee and the conservation districts.
V. Keep the public informed throughout the state, concerning the activities and programs of the conservation districts.
VI. Establish satisfactory cooperative arrangements and avoid duplication between the districts and other federal, state or county agencies which have similar responsibilities.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985.

Section 432:12

    432:12 Creation of Conservation Districts. – There are hereby established, as governmental subdivisions of this state and public bodies corporate and politic, 10 conservation districts as follows: (1) each of the 10 counties within the state is hereby incorporated into a conservation district; (2) each of the 10 districts shall be known by the name of the county to which its boundaries conform. Upon the appointment of the district supervisors as hereinafter provided the districts shall become duly organized and thereafter the districts and the supervisors thereof shall have all powers and duties conferred upon them by this subdivision; provided, however, that no such district shall exercise any of the powers conferred on districts or the supervisors thereof under this subdivision until after the state conservation committee shall adopt a resolution determining that there is a need, in the interest of public health, safety and welfare, for such district to function and that a substantial proportion of the land occupiers of such districts are in favor of its operation. In making such determinations the committee may accept petitions and conduct such public meetings and referenda as it deems necessary, and shall give due consideration to the distribution and intensity of erosion, floodwaters and sediment damages, the effects of drought, need for land drainage, changes in land use, the conservation and development of the natural resources, the impact of changing climate and environment, and capacity of soil health to improve resilience on land within the said district, and to other relevant factors. From and after the date of adoption by the committee of a resolution in favor of the operation of a particular district, such district shall be deemed to be duly organized, and the supervisors of such district shall thereupon be entitled to exercise the powers conferred on them by this subdivision. A certified copy of such resolution shall be evidence of the due organization of such districts. All districts heretofore organized under RSA 430 or 430-B shall be identified as "conservation districts" and shall have all the powers and duties provided in this subdivision for conservation districts.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985. 2021, 167:4, eff. Sept. 28, 2021.

Section 432:13

    432:13 Appointment of District Supervisors. – The governing body of the district shall consist of 5 supervisors appointed by the state conservation committee, who shall be land occupiers in the district. Associate supervisors, who shall be land occupiers in the district, shall be appointed by the governing body as deemed necessary and shall serve without vote when there is a quorum of supervisors present and voting. In the absence of a quorum, one or more associate supervisors may be designated by the chair to participate and to vote in place of any absent supervisors.

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1986, 15:1, eff. April 18, 1986.

Section 432:14

    432:14 Organization; Term of Office. – The supervisors of each district shall designate a chairman and may from time to time change their chairman. The term of office of each supervisor shall be 3 years, excepting that for those first appointed there shall be one for one year, 2 for 2 years, and 2 for 3 years. A supervisor may succeed himself in office, and he shall hold office until his successor has been appointed and has qualified. Vacancies shall be filled for an unexpired term, and removal from the district shall constitute a vacancy. Successors to fill an unexpired term or a full term shall be appointed by the state conservation committee. A majority of the supervisors shall constitute a quorum and the concurrence of a majority in any matter within their duties shall be required for its determination. A supervisor shall receive no compensation for his services, but he shall be entitled to expenses, including traveling expenses, necessarily incurred in the discharge of his duties.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985.

Section 432:15

    432:15 Employees; Duties. – The supervisors may employ such employees as they may require and shall determine their qualifications, duties and compensation. The supervisors may delegate to their chairman, to one or more supervisors, or to one or more agents or employees, such powers and duties as they may deem proper. The supervisors shall provide for the execution of surety bonds for all employees and officers who shall be entrusted with funds or property; shall provide for the keeping of full and accurate records of all proceedings; and shall provide for an annual audit of the account of receipts and disbursements. The supervisors shall furnish to the state conservation committee, upon request, copies of their proceedings and other documents as they shall adopt or employ, and such other information concerning their activities as it may require in the performance of its duties under this subdivision.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985.

Section 432:16

    432:16 Powers of Districts and Supervisors. –
A conservation district organized under the provisions of this subdivision, and the supervisors thereof, shall have the following powers, in addition to others granted in other sections of this subdivision:
I. To conduct surveys, investigations and research relating to the character of soil erosion; floodwater and sediment damages; land drainage; the health, conservation, and development of the soil, water, and related natural resources; the impact of drought, and the promotion of practices to adapt to a changing climate and environment; and the preventive and control measures and works of improvement needed, to publish the results of such surveys, investigations, or research, and to disseminate information concerning such preventive and control measures and works of improvement; provided, however, that in order to avoid duplication of research activities, no district shall initiate any research program except in cooperation with the government of this state or any of its agencies, or with the United States or any of its agencies;
II. To conduct demonstrational projects within the district on lands owned or controlled by this state or any of its agencies, with the cooperation and consent of the agency administering and having jurisdiction thereof, and on any other lands within the district upon obtaining the consent of the occupier of such lands or the necessary rights or interests in such lands, in order to demonstrate by example the means, methods, and measures by which soil and soil resources may be conserved and soil health improved, and how soil erosion in the form of soil blowing and soil washing may be prevented and controlled, and how land may be drained and floodwater and sediment damages may be prevented; and how other works of improvement for the health, conservation, and development of the soil, water, and related natural resources may be carried out; and how healthy soils practices can aid in adaptation to changes in climate and environment;
III. To carry out preventive and control measures and works of improvement for the health, conservation, and development of the soil, water, and related natural resources within the district including, but not limited to, engineering operations, methods of cultivation, the growing of vegetation, the drainage of land and changes in use of land, and measures for the prevention of floodwater and sediment damages, on lands owned or controlled by this state or any of its agencies, with the cooperation and consent of the agency administering and having jurisdiction thereof, and on any other land within the district upon obtaining the consent of the occupier of such lands or the necessary rights or interests in such lands;
IV. To cooperate, or enter into agreements with and to furnish financial or other aid to, any agency, governmental or otherwise, or any occupier of lands within the district, in carrying out the erosion control, flood prevention, drainage, watershed protection, and resource conservation and development projects or other works of improvement for the health, conservation, and development of the soil, water, and related natural resources within the district, subject to such conditions as the supervisors may deem necessary to advance the purposes of this subdivision;
V. To obtain options upon and to acquire, by purchase, exchange, lease, gift, grant, bequest, devise, or otherwise, any property, real or personal, or rights or interests therein; to maintain, administer, and improve any properties acquired; to receive income from such properties and to expend such income in carrying out the purposes and provisions of this subdivision; and to sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of any of its property or interests therein in furtherance of the purposes and provisions of this subdivision;
VI. To make available, on such terms as it shall prescribe, to land occupiers within the district, incentives, education, technical assistance, agricultural and engineering machinery, equipment, fertilizer, seeds, seedlings, and such other material or equipment as will assist such land occupiers to carry on operations upon their lands for the health, conservation, and development of soil, water, and related natural resources, for the promotion of practices to foster drought resilience and adapt to a changing climate and environment, for the drainage of land, for the prevention and control of soil erosion, and for the prevention of floodwater and sediment damages;
VII. To construct, improve, operate and maintain such structures as may be necessary or convenient for the performance of any of the operations authorized in this subdivision;
VIII. To develop comprehensive plans for changes in land use and for the conservation, and development of the healthy soil, water, and related natural resources, for the control and prevention of soil erosion, for land drainage, for the prevention of floodwater and sediment damages within the district, for the promotion of drought resilience and for adaptation to changes in climate and environment, which plans shall specify in such detail as may be possible the acts, procedures, performances, and avoidances which are necessary or desirable for the effectuation of such plans, including the specification of engineering operations, methods of cultivation, the growing of vegetation, cropping programs, tillage practices, and changes in use of lands; and to publish such plans and information and bring them to the attention of occupiers of lands within the district;
IX. To take over by purchase, lease, or otherwise, and to administer any soil health, soil conservation, drainage, drought resilience, flood prevention, erosion control, erosion prevention, watershed protection, or resource conservation and development project, or other works of improvement for the health, conservation, and development of soil, water, and related natural resources or combinations thereof, located within its boundaries undertaken by the United States or any of its agencies, or by this state or any of its agencies; to manage, as agent of the United States or any of its agencies, or of this state or any of its agencies, any soil health, soil conservation, drought resilience, drainage, flood prevention, erosion control, erosion prevention, watershed protection, or resource conservation and development project, or other works of improvement for the health, conservation, and development of soil, water, and related natural resources or combinations thereof within its boundaries; to act as agent for the United States, or any of its agencies, or for this state or any of its agencies, in connection with the acquisition, construction, operation, or administration of any soil health, soil conservation, drainage, drought resilience, flood prevention, erosion control, erosion prevention, watershed protection, or resource conservation and development project or other works of improvement for the health, conservation, and development of soil, water, and related natural resources or combinations thereof within its boundaries; to accept donations, gifts, and contributions in money, services, materials, or otherwise, from the United States or any of its agencies or from this state or any of its agencies, and to use or expend such moneys, services, materials, or other contributions in carrying on its operations;
X. As a condition to the extending of any benefits under this subdivision to, or the performance of work upon, any lands not owned or controlled by this state or any of its agencies, the supervisors may require contributions in money, services, materials, or otherwise to any operations conferring such benefits, and may require land occupiers to enter into and perform such agreements or covenants as to the permanent use of such lands as will tend to provide drainage, prevent or control erosion, prevent floodwater and sediment damages, and otherwise provide for the conservation and development of the resources thereon.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985. 2021, 167:5, eff. Sept. 28, 2021.

Section 432:17

    432:17 Inconsistency With Other Laws. – Insofar as any of the provisions of this subdivision are inconsistent with the provisions of any other law, the provisions of this subdivision shall be controlling.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985.

Acquisition of Agricultural Land Development Rights

Section 432:18

    432:18 Definitions. –
In this subdivision:
I. "Agricultural land development rights" means the rights of the fee simple owner of agricultural land to construct on, sell, lease or otherwise improve the agricultural land for uses that result in rendering such land no longer suitable for agricultural use. Such development rights may be severed from the fee simple right to constitute a restriction for the preservation of the agricultural land as defined in paragraphs II and II-a.
II. "Agricultural preservation restriction" means the restraint placed on the development rights of agricultural land, whether stated in the form of a restriction, easement, covenant, or condition, in any deed, will, or other instrument executed by or on behalf of the owner of the land which is appropriate to retaining land or water areas predominantly in their agricultural use, to prohibit or limit (1) construction or placement of buildings except those used for agricultural purposes or for a dwelling used for family living by the landowner, his or her immediate family or employees; (2) excavation, dredging, or removal of loam, sod, peat, gravel, soil, rock, or other mineral substance in such a manner as to adversely affect the land's future agricultural potential; or (3) other acts or uses detrimental to such retention of the land for agricultural use. Agricultural preservation restriction does not include agricultural restricted grants as defined in paragraph II-a.
II-a. "Agricultural restricted grant" means a grant given to a landowner by the department of agriculture, markets, and food for a limited time set by the parties with financial or technical assistance provided by the department in return for guarantees of continued farm use of the property for a minimum specified time period.
III. "Agricultural use" means use of land for agriculture, farming, dairying, pasturage, horticulture, floriculture, or animal or poultry husbandry.
IV. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the department of agriculture, markets, and food.
V. "Committee" means the agricultural lands preservation committee.
VI. "Conservation commission" means the conservation commission established by a city or town pursuant to RSA 36-A.
VII. "Governing body" means, in the case of a city, the city council or the board of aldermen or, in the case of a town, the board of selectmen.
VIII. "Municipality" means any city or town.
IX. "Site" means a specific land area for agricultural purposes in which agricultural land development rights including agricultural restricted grants are acquired in order to preserve land suitable for agricultural production.

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1995, 130:4, eff. July 23, 1995. 2010, 238:1-3, eff. July 1, 2010.

Section 432:19

    432:19 Agricultural Lands Preservation Committee; Members, Appointment, Term. –
I. There is hereby established an agricultural lands preservation committee which shall function within the department of agriculture, markets, and food.
II. The committee shall consist of 7 voting members and 2 nonvoting members, to be appointed as follows:
(a) The commissioner of the department of agriculture, markets, and food who shall be chairman;
(b) The commissioner of the department of natural and cultural resources, or his designee;
(c) The director of the office of planning and development, or his designee;
(d) The secretary of the agricultural advisory board;
(e) 3 members, 2 of whom are owners and operators of farms in the state, who shall be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the council for 3 years. Of the initial appointees, one shall hold office for one year, one for 2 years and one for 3 years;
(f) The dean of the college of life sciences and agriculture of the university system of New Hampshire, or his designee, who shall serve as a nonvoting member; and
(g) The New Hampshire state conservationist of the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, or his designee, who shall serve as a nonvoting member.
III. Members of the committee who are not state employees shall be paid $25 a day, each, for such time as they are actually engaged in the work of the committee. All members shall be paid their actual expenses incurred as a result of such work and shall be paid mileage at the same rate as state employees.
IV. A majority of the voting members of the committee shall constitute a quorum.

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1995, 130:4; 206:2, eff. Aug. 11, 1995. 2003, 319:9, eff. July 1, 2003. 2004, 257:44, eff. July 1, 2004. 2017, 156:64, eff. July 1, 2017. 2021, 91:198, eff. July 1, 2021.

Section 432:20

    432:20 Duties of the Committee. –
I. The committee shall evaluate and accept or reject sites proposed by a landowner pursuant to RSA 432:22. The committee shall consider in their evaluation, at a minimum, the following:
(a) The degree to which the acquisition would serve to preserve the agricultural potential of the state;
(b) The suitability of land as to soil classification and other criteria for agricultural use; and
(c) The fair market value of such land pursuant to RSA 75:1 as determined by an independent appraisal and the fair market value of such land when used for agricultural purposes which shall be the top of the value range for horticultural crops as established by the current use board. The landowner shall bear the expense of the appraisal of the land to be acquired.
II. [Repealed.]

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1986, 15:2. 1991, 281:24, eff. Aug. 17, 1991. 2015, 259:31, IV, eff. July 1, 2015.

Section 432:21

    432:21 Duties of the Commissioner. –
The commissioner shall, with the advice and consent of the committee, and in accordance with RSA 541-A:
I. [Repealed.]
II. Adopt rules relative to criteria to define and classify agricultural lands.
III. Adopt rules relative to procedures for the purchasing of agricultural land development rights by the state.
IV. Adopt rules relative to procedures for the release of a site from agricultural preservation restrictions.
V. Fulfill any duties delegated by the committee pursuant to this subdivision.
VI. Adopt rules relative to procedures for granting financial or technical assistance for aid for the creation of agricultural restricted grants.

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1986, 15:3, eff. April 18, 1986. 2010, 238:4, eff. July 1, 2010.

Section 432:22

    432:22 Procedure for Administration. –
I. Acquisition of agricultural land development rights shall be conducted in cooperation with a landowner upon review pursuant to this section. Any proposal for designating a site as an agricultural preservation restriction area or a site for an agricultural restricted grant shall be submitted by the landowner to the committee for approval. Notwithstanding RSA 432:23, approval of a site for an agricultural restricted grant shall not be the only cause for a current use valuation as described in RSA 79-A.
II. The committee shall determine the amount due to the affected agricultural landowner and authorize the commissioner to pay such amount to the owner. Agricultural land development rights purchased pursuant to this section shall be held in the name of the state of New Hampshire.
III. The determination of such amounts shall be equitable in consideration of anticipated benefits from the proposed site but not to exceed the difference between the fair market value of such land and the fair market value of such land restricted for agricultural purposes pursuant to this subdivision.
IV. The rights acquired pursuant to the purchase agreement shall not be sold or otherwise conveyed to a third party without consent of the landowner, nor does such purchase grant the public any right of access or right of use of the affected property.
V. The committee shall view each parcel subject to agricultural preservation restriction or an agricultural restricted grant not less than once every 2 years to assure that its use complies with law and the rules of the committee. The committee may delegate responsibility for monitoring of the agricultural preservation restriction to the conservation commission in the municipality, or to the conservation district, in which the parcel is situated. Such commission or district shall submit a report of its inspection to the committee in a timely manner.

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1986, 15:4, eff. April 18, 1986. 2010, 238:5, 6, eff. July 1, 2010.

Section 432:23

    432:23 Assessments. – Land designated as an agricultural preservation site and utilized for agricultural production shall be assessed for general property tax purposes at values no greater than those determined to be the fair market value for such land as determined by the current use board established by RSA 79-A:3.

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1991, 281:25, eff. Aug. 17, 1991.

Section 432:24

    432:24 Release. –
I. Agricultural preservation restrictions shall be in perpetuity except as released pursuant to this section and RSA 432:25. Agricultural restricted grants shall run in accordance with the agreement between a landowner and the department of agriculture, markets, and food except as terminated pursuant to this section and RSA 432:25. All customary rights and privileges of ownership shall be retained by the owner including the right to privacy and the right to carry out all regular agricultural practices which are not prohibited by RSA 432:18, II.
II. Agricultural preservation restrictions and agricultural restricted grants may be released or terminated by the committee if the site is no longer suitable for agricultural purposes. An owner of an agricultural preservation site may request the committee's approval to release the restriction for the public good. Prior to the release of the agricultural land development rights by the committee, a public hearing shall be conducted in the municipality in which the site is located. A notice of said hearing shall specify the grounds for the hearing as well as the date, time, and place, and at least 14 days' notice of the time and place of such hearing shall be published in a paper of general circulation in the municipality. A legal notice of the hearing shall also be posted in at least 3 public places in such city or town. The 14 days shall not include the day of publication nor the day of the meeting, but shall include any Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays within said period. At least 2 committee members shall sit on the hearing panel.
III. Development rights of agricultural land purchased with public funds may be released upon repayment by the landowner of a reasonable value thereof which shall not be less than the difference between fair market value of such land at the time of such release and the fair market value of such land restricted for agricultural purposes at the time that development rights were acquired.

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1986, 15:5, eff. April 18, 1986. 2010, 238:7, eff. July 1, 2010.

Section 432:25

    432:25 Development Rights Acquired By Public Bodies. –
I. Development rights of agricultural lands may be acquired by any governmental body or charitable corporation or trust which has the authority to acquire interests in land. The restrictions arising from the acquisition of the development rights may be enforced by injunction or other proceeding. Representatives of the holder shall be entitled to enter such land in a reasonable manner and at reasonable times to assure compliance with the restriction.
II. The restrictions may be released, in whole or in part, by the holder for consideration in an amount determined by the governmental body or charitable corporation or trust that purchased the development rights. Prior to release of restriction by a governmental body, a public hearing shall be conducted in the municipality in which the site is located. A notice of said hearing shall specify the grounds for the hearing as well as the date, time and place, and at least 14 days' notice of the time and place of such hearing shall be published in a paper of general circulation in the municipality. A legal notice of the hearing shall also be posted in at least 3 public places in such city or town. The 14 days shall not include the day of publication nor the day of the meeting, but shall include any Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays within said period.

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1986, 15:7, eff. April 18, 1986.

Section 432:26

    432:26 Public Interest. – Prior to action by a governmental body to acquire the development rights or release or approve the agricultural preservation restriction, the body shall consider the public interest in such agricultural preservation, any national, state, regional or local program in furtherance thereof, and any state, regional or local comprehensive land use plan.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985.

Section 432:27

    432:27 Recording. –
I. Acquisition of the developmental rights or release of the preservation restrictions on agricultural land shall be evidenced by certificates issued by the commissioner and shall be recorded pursuant to RSA 477:3-a in the appropriate registry of deeds by the commissioner. Recording costs shall be paid by the affected landowner.
II. Municipal planning boards and regional planning commissions established pursuant to RSA 673 or RSA 36 shall be notified in writing by the commissioner of the acquisition or release of an agricultural preservation site which shall be duly noted in the master plan of the municipality or region.

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1986, 15:6, eff. April 18, 1986.

Section 432:28

    432:28 Covenants Already in Force Relating to the Affected Site. – Any prior right, easement, privilege, restriction or condition relative to a designated site which then becomes subject to an agricultural preservation restriction shall remain enforceable. The restriction shall be subject to the prior covenants except upon the express release of the covenants due to the acquisition of the site's agricultural land development rights. If prior covenants are released upon the acquisition of the agricultural land development rights and the agricultural preservation restriction is then released pursuant to RSA 432:24 or RSA 432:25, the covenants shall be revived to the same status as prior to the acquisition of the development rights.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985.

Section 432:29

    432:29 Land for Public Use; Eminent Domain, Easements By Public Utilities. –
I. Any powers granted by general or special law to acquire land for public uses by purchase, gift or eminent domain shall not be diminished; provided that alternative land areas are considered.
II. Public utility companies may obtain easements by eminent domain on sites designated agricultural preservation restriction areas for the purpose of utility services; provided, however, the utility (1) gives thorough consideration to alternative areas before such land can be taken; (2) guarantees the minimum practicable interference with agricultural operations with respect to width of easement, pole location and other pertinent matters; (3) obtains all necessary licenses, permits, approvals and other authorizations from the appropriate government agencies; and (4) compensates the landowner in the same manner and at the same fair market value as if the land were not designated as an agricultural preservation site.
III. The committee shall be consulted prior to the taking of any property pursuant to this section. If the committee determines there was a taking contrary to the provisions of this section, it shall have the right of appeal to the superior court on behalf of the landowner.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985.

Section 432:30

    432:30 Repealed by 2018, 204:2, eff. July 1, 2018. –

Section 432:30-a

    432:30-a Special Account. – There is established a separate account to which shall be credited all funds appropriated or acquired to provide financial and technical assistance associated with this subdivision. This shall be a nonlapsing account, and funds in said account are hereby appropriated for the purpose of this subdivision.

Source. 2019, 346:194, eff. July 1, 2019.

Section 432:31

    432:31 Contributions. – The committee is authorized to apply for and accept public or private grants, gifts, or donations of any kind and to use and dispose of money, services and property received from such contributions for the purposes of this subdivision.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985. 2010, 238:9, eff. July 1, 2010.

Section 432:31-a

    432:31-a Governor and Council Approval. – The purchase of any agricultural land preservation restrictions or development rights in the name of the state of New Hampshire or their release, in whole or in part, by the state pursuant to the provisions of this subdivision shall be approved by governor and council.

Source. 1985, 304:3, eff. Aug. 13, 1985.

Nuisance Liability of Agricultural Operations

Section 432:32

    432:32 Agricultural Operation. – "Agricultural operation" when used in this subdivision includes any farm, agricultural or farming activity as defined in RSA 21:34-a.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985.

Section 432:33

    432:33 Immunity From Suit. – No agricultural operation shall be found a public or private nuisance as a result of changed conditions in or around the locality of the agricultural operation, if such agricultural operation has been in operation for one year or more and if it was not a nuisance at the time it began operation. This section shall not apply when any aspect of the agricultural operation is determined to be injurious to public health or safety under RSA 147:1 or RSA 147:2.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985.

Section 432:34

    432:34 Negligent or Improper Operations. – The provisions of this subdivision shall not apply if a nuisance results from the negligent or improper operation of an agricultural operation. Agricultural operations shall not be found to be negligent or improper when they conform to federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations.

Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985.

Section 432:35

    432:35 Limits. – Nothing contained in this subdivision shall be construed to modify or limit the duties and authority conferred upon the department of environmental services under RSA 485 or RSA 485-A or the commissioner of agriculture, markets, and food under any of the chapters in this title.

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1989, 339:27. 1995, 130:5. 1996, 228:108, eff. July 1, 1996.