BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Farmers and ranchers will win new protections from nuisance claims when expanding their operations in a measure headed to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter for signature.

Senate Republicans voted 32-2 Thursday to expand Idaho's "Right to Farm" law.

Under the bill, agricultural operations can't be dubbed a nuisance if they weren't nuisances when they began operations — even if they expand.

As Idaho's rural landscape fills with encroaching suburbia, Sen. Tim Corder argued the need to protect existing farmland and operations that sit on it remains.

Urban Democrats including Sen. Nicole LeFavour of Boise expressed concern about hurting local communities' abilities to manage odor, including fom expanding dairies. She still voted for the bill.

Corder says local officials will still use existing regulations, including those governing smells, to make land-use decisions.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.