State Rule Change Challenges Protection of Some Residential Farmers

Wendy S. Delmater
By Wendy S. Delmater on Thu, May 1, 2014 - 9:27am

State Rule Change Challenges Protection of Some Residential Farmers

  • Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development approved a rule change Monday that some say will impact small farmers who were once protected by the Right to Farm Act. 
  • The change requires all farmers with livestock, even if it’s just one animal, in areas zoned residential to adhere to community requirements. 
  • Before this, the Right to Farm Act, which still requires farmers to comply with Generally Accepted Agriculture Management Practices, trumped any community ordinances or guidelines.
  • As a result, some farmers say they might “reconsider our business plans and may sell the farm and buy a farm in a more rural area.”

Read more, here, but in a nutshell a state-wide law enforcing state standards on farms that used to protect urban farmers (originally passed to to protect rural farmers from city folks who moved out to the country and started to complain about their farming neighbors) has just been overturned. This is not good news for Michigan's urban and suburban small farmers. Think of how Detroit has lost 2/3 of its population and how many of its remaining residents are trying to become locally self-sufficient and you'll get an idea of how short-sighted this rule change is.

The change is to the Site Selection Generally Accepted Agriculture Management Practices, which now applies to areas that are primarily residential and that don’t allow land to be used for farming. According to the commission, in situations like this, the landowner would need to conform to the community’s requirements.

1 Comment

rayne's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: May 29 2012
Posts: 33
The fools!

The fools!

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