Community-Based Strategies for
Resolving Agricultural and Land-Use Conflict​


Dr. W.J. Caldwell, Professor,
School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
University of Guelph

research assistants

Dr. Jennifer Ball, Alicia Evans
School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
University of Guelph


Canadian Agricultural Rural Communities Initiative (CARCI)
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF)
Ontario Pork
Sustainable Rural Communities (SRC)
Livestock Environmental Iniative (LEI)

executive summary

This research is intended to respond to environmental issues related to agriculture by identifying best practices in the management of conflict. Related issues of land use and conflict resolution have been considered. This information is intended to be used by individual property owners, farm groups, municipalities and provinces.

More specifically this research has the following objectives:

  • To identify ‘best practices’ for local conflict resolution by documenting and analyzing the success of current initiatives.
  • To document and analyze the experience of the farm community with the Ontario Municipal Board and the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board.
  • To evaluate the opportunity for local committees to assist in mediating disputes. Existing examples in Ontario, Manitoba and Michigan will be evaluated to determine the broader applicability of these initiatives.
  • To develop a manual to assist local initiatives to establish committees to mediate agricultural disputes. This will include training materials to assist local initiatives.

Increasingly there is a recognition that conflict resolution strategies offer the potential to resolve conflict related to agriculture. At its best it can offer workable solutions, enhance communication and foster understanding. Despite this potential, however there is an absence of materials to help develop and implement local strategies. This project contributes to local innovation through the provision of materials that facilitate the use of local strategies in the management of conflict.

In response to the key research objectives this report is divided into several freestanding sections. These sections are related but can be used independently or as part of a broader cohesive whole. The key components of this research are as follows:

Section 1

The Role of Conflict Resolution in the Rural Community: A Focus on Ontario’s Agricultural Mediation Committees

Section 2

The Role of the Ontario Municipal Board in Adjudicating Agricultural Conflict

Section 3

Informal Methods of Conflict Resolution in Rural Manitoba

Section 4

Lessons from Michigan: Regulating Intensive Livestock Operations – Conflict Resolution, Right-to-Farm and the Role of the State

Section 5

Ten Steps to Creating a Local Advisory Committee

Section 6

Local Advisory Committee Manual