ADA Versus Family Farm Law

by Christina Medvescek on July 1, 2006 - 4:44pm

QUEST Vol. 13, No. 4

It was an unlikely contest, but when the ADA and a law designed to look out for the family farmer came into conflict earlier this year, the ADA scored the knockout blow.

In December, a U.S. District Court in Nebraska struck down a law banning corporate farming because it discriminates against those with physical disabilities, reported the Disability Policy Collaboration (DPC), a legislative lobbying group of the Arc and United Cerebral Palsy.

The plaintiffs, including a farmer who uses a wheelchair, argued that the ban violated the ADA by requiring at least one family member who owns the farm to be involved in day-to-day physical activities. This discriminated against people with dis-abilities who are involved in the business but not the physical aspects of running a farm, and/or who may not be a member of a family that runs a farm.

Until this ruling, the corporate farming ban was a model for states trying to limit big businesses’ involvement in farming, and had withstood repeated legal challenges.

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