The North Carolina Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that state law preempts attempts by counties to further regulate the swine industry.

The high court's opinion, written by Chief Justice Beverly Lake, states that “…the Swine Farm Siting Act and the Animal Waste Management Systems statutes are so comprehensive in scope that the General Assembly must have intended that they comprise a ‘complete and integrated regulatory scheme’ on a statewide basis, thus leaving no room for further local regulation.”

The ruling was based on a 1998 suit filed by a hog farmer and the Chatham County Agribusiness Counsel against the county, questioning the legality of certain ordinances enacted to regulate hog farms.