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Weld County’s Right To Farm

Right to Farm Covenant

Weld County is one of the most productive agricultural counties in the United States, ranking fifth in total market value of agricultural products sold. The rural areas of Weld County may be open and spacious, but they are intensively used for agriculture. Persons moving into a rural area must recognize and accept there are drawbacks, including conflicts with long-standing agricultural practices and a lower level of services than in town. Along with the drawbacks come the incentives, which attract urban dwellers to relocate to rural area: open views, spaciousness, wildlife, lack of city noise and congestion, and the rural atmosphere and way of life. Without neighboring farms, those features that attract urban dwellers to rural Weld County would quickly be gone forever.

Agricultural users of the land should not be expected to change their long-established agricultural practices to accommodate the intrusion of urban users into a rural area. Well run agricultural activities will generate off-site impacts, including noise from tractors and equipment; slow-moving farm vehicles on rural roads; dust from animal pens, field work, harvest, and gravel roads; odor from animal confinement, silage, and manure; smoke from ditch burning; flies and mosquitoes; and the use of pesticides and fertilizers in the field, including the use of aerial spraying. Ditches and reservoirs cannot simply be moved out of the way of residential development without threatening the efficient delivery of irrigation to fields, which is essential to farm production.

Section 35-3.5-102, C.R.S., provides that an agricultural operation shall not be found to be a public or private nuisance if the agricultural operation alleged to be a nuisance employs methods or practices that are commonly or reasonably associated with agricultural production.

Weld County covers a land area of over 4,000 square miles in size (twice the State of Delaware) with more than 3,700 miles of state and county roads outside of municipalities. The sheer magnitude of the area to be served stretches available resources. Law enforcement is based on responses to complaints more than on patrols of the county and the distances which must be traveled may delay all emergency responses, including law enforcement, ambulance, and fire. Volunteers, who must leave their jobs and families to respond to emergencies, usually provide fire protection. County gravel roads, no matter how often they are bladed, will not provide the same kind of surface expected from a paved road. Snow removal priorities mean that roads from subdivisions to arterials may not be cleared for several days after a major snowstorm. Snow removal for roads within subdivisions are of the lowest priority for public works or may be the private responsibility of the homeowners. Services in rural areas, in many cases, will not be equivalent to municipal services. Rural dwellers, must, by necessity, be more self-sufficient than urban dwellers.

Children are exposed to different hazards in the county than in an urban setting. Farm equipment and oil field equipment, ponds and irrigation ditches, electrical power for pumps and center pivot operations, high speed traffic, sand burs, puncture vines, territorial farm dogs, and livestock present real threats to children. Controlling children's activities is important, not only for their safety, but also for the protection of the farmer’s livelihood. Parents are responsible for their children.


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