Yesterday, during a special meeting, the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development made changes to the Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices (GAAMPs) by making language changes to say land is not suitable for livestock if the area of the community is primarily residential (defined as more than 13 homes within 1/8 of a mile of the animals, or with any home within 250 feet of the proposed facility) that do not allow for agricultural use. This would still allow a local community to have an ordinance allowing livestock within their community in these areas if they choose to do so. This makes it clear there is no Right to Farm protection in these types of areas.
After much testimony from many small farm operations with concerns, a vote was taken and language passed by the Commission. There was discussion on having the committee through their annual review process discuss more urban type issues and density requirements.
As an additional result, the League and Michigan Townships Association have been asked by the Commission to communicate any concerns we hear about from our local communities to the Commission so they are aware of what issues are out lingering and any unintended consequences these changes may have made. I would encourage you all, as you work through any urban farming issues, to please pass those concerns along to me so I can be sure they get to the Commission.
The League is supportive of this change and allowing the local communities along with it’s residents decide what might be suitable in their own communities, especially in residential neighborhoods. We look forward to continued work with Commission and MDARD staff on these types of issues in the future.
Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development and land use issues. She can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0305.