Code of the West

Torrance County is one of the most productive agricultural counties in the United States. The rural areas of Torrance County may be open and spacious, but they are intensively used for agricultural. Persons moving into a rural area must recognize there are drawbacks, including conflicts with long-standing agricultural practices and a lower level of services than in town.

Agricultural users of the land are not expected to change their long established agricultural practices to accommodate the intrusions of urban users into a rural area. Well run agricultural activities will generate off site impacts, including noise from tractors and equipment; dust from animal pens, field work, harvest and gravel roads; odor from animal confinement, silage, and manure; the use of pesticides and fertilizers in the fields, including the use of aerial spraying.

Torrance County covers a land area of 3355+- square miles; with approximately 1452 miles of county maintained roads. 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 arterioles may not be cleared for several days after a major snowstorm. Snow removal from school bus routes has first priority. Snow removals for roads within subdivisions are the lowest priority for public works or may be the private responsibility of the homeowners. Services in new areas in many cases will not be equivalent to municipal services.

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