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Michigan Right to Farm Law, what does it mean?

post #1 of 1724
Thread Starter 

We have chickens against our township ordinance. We live on about an acre and have neighbors on each side of us. One neighbor two houses down, back in the woods, has a rooster, goat and goose (I know, because I can hear them). The man across the street has two ponies and next to him is a farm field. No farm animals are permitted at any of these residences, but they still exist. We also probably have a rooster, which we would really like to keep.

I ran across a hatchery in Brighton MI that mentioned the Michigan Right to farm act. Does anyone what this act actually means?:

    * Learn the things city hall don't want you to know....

    * Did you know?? There is no law that states the size of a farm. The supreme court of Michigan says that a farm is any place that commercially produces a product useful to

    * humans... This means if you have a chicken and you sell or try to sell the eggs that that chicken lay's, you are a Farm...

    * Everyone, Everywhere in Michigan has a right to Farm. This is your state Law but city hall won't tell you about it. I had this Battle and have learned so much about our right to grow, raise and share Any and All thing Beneficial to humans..

    * Please take the time to look up MICHIGANS<RIGHT TO FARM LAW, Know your rights when that zoning guy shows up and tell you , YOU CAN"T DO THAT >>>

    * Michigan has the strongest right to farm laws in the U.S.


MICHIGAN RIGHT TO FARM ACT

Act 93 of 1981
AN ACT to define certain farm uses, operations, practices, and products; to provide certain disclosures; to
provide for circumstances under which a farm shall not be found to be a public or private nuisance; to provide
for certain powers and duties for certain state agencies and departments; and to provide for certain remedies
for certain persons.
History: 1981, Act 93, Imd. Eff. July 11, 1981;¾Am. 1995, Act 94, Eff. Sept. 30, 1995.
The People of the State of Michigan enact:
286.471 Short title.
Sec. 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the Michigan right to farm act.
History: 1981, Act 93, Imd. Eff. July 11, 1981.
286.472 Definitions.
Sec. 2. As used in this act:
(a) Farm means the land, plants, animals, buildings, structures, including ponds used for agricultural or
aquacultural activities, machinery, equipment, and other appurtenances used in the commercial production of
farm products.
(b) Farm operation means the operation and management of a farm or a condition or activity that occurs
at any time as necessary on a farm in connection with the commercial production, harvesting, and storage of
farm products, and includes, but is not limited to:
(i) Marketing produce at roadside stands or farm markets.
(ii) The generation of noise, odors, dust, fumes, and other associated conditions.
(iii) The operation of machinery and equipment necessary for a farm including, but not limited to,
irrigation and drainage systems and pumps and on-farm grain dryers, and the movement of vehicles,
machinery, equipment, and farm products and associated inputs necessary for farm operations on the roadway
as authorized by the Michigan vehicle code, Act No. 300 of the Public Acts of 1949, being sections 257.1 to
257.923 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
(iv) Field preparation and ground and aerial seeding and spraying.
(v) The application of chemical fertilizers or organic materials, conditioners, liming materials, or
pesticides.
(vi) Use of alternative pest management techniques.
(vii) The fencing, feeding, watering, sheltering, transportation, treatment, use, handling and care of farm
animals.
(viii) The management, storage, transport, utilization, and application of farm by-products, including
manure or agricultural wastes.
(ix) The conversion from a farm operation activity to other farm operation activities.
(x) The employment and use of labor.
(c) Farm product means those plants and animals useful to human beings produced by agriculture and
includes, but is not limited to, forages and sod crops, grains and feed crops, field crops, dairy and dairy
products, poultry and poultry products, cervidae, livestock, including breeding and grazing, equine, fish, and
other aquacultural products, bees and bee products, berries, herbs, fruits, vegetables, flowers, seeds, grasses,
nursery stock, trees and tree products, mushrooms, and other similar products, or any other product which
incorporates the use of food, feed, fiber, or fur, as determined by the Michigan commission of agriculture.
(d) Generally accepted agricultural and management practices means those practices as defined by the
Michigan commission of agriculture. The commission shall give due consideration to available Michigan
department of agriculture information and written recommendations from the Michigan state university
college of agriculture and natural resources extension and the agricultural experiment station in cooperation
with the United States department of agriculture natural resources conservation service and the consolidated
farm service agency, the Michigan department of natural resources, and other professional and industry
organizations.
(e) Person means an individual, corporation, partnership, association, or other legal entity.
History: 1981, Act 93, Imd. Eff. July 11, 1981;¾Am. 1987, Act 240, Imd. Eff. Dec. 28, 1987;¾Am. 1995, Act 94, Eff. Sept. 30,
1995.
286.473 Farm or farm operation as public or private nuisance; review and revision of
Rendered Wednesday, January 28, 2009 Page 1 Michigan Compiled Laws Complete Through PA 502, 525, 538,
544, 546, and 584 of 2008
Ó Legislative Council, State of Michigan Courtesy of www.legislature.mi.gov
practices; finding; conditions.
Sec. 3. (1) A farm or farm operation shall not be found to be a public or private nuisance if the farm or
farm operation alleged to be a nuisance conforms to generally accepted agricultural and management
practices according to policy determined by the Michigan commission of agriculture. Generally accepted
agricultural and management practices shall be reviewed annually by the Michigan commission of agriculture
and revised as considered necessary.
(2) A farm or farm operation shall not be found to be a public or private nuisance if the farm or farm
operation existed before a change in the land use or occupancy of land within 1 mile of the boundaries of the
farm land, and if before that change in land use or occupancy of land, the farm or farm operation would not
have been a nuisance.
(3) A farm or farm operation that is in conformance with subsection (1) shall not be found to be a public or
private nuisance as a result of any of the following:
(a) A change in ownership or size.
(b) Temporary cessation or interruption of farming.
(c) Enrollment in governmental programs.
(d) Adoption of new technology.
(e) A change in type of farm product being produced.
History: 1981, Act 93, Imd. Eff. July 11, 1981;¾Am. 1987, Act 240, Imd. Eff. Dec. 28, 1987;¾Am. 1995, Act 94, Eff. Sept. 30,
1995.
286.473a Repealed. 1999, Act 261, Eff. Mar. 10, 2000.
Compiler's note: The repealed section pertained to complaints generally.
286.473b Recovery of costs and expenses.
Sec. 3b. In any nuisance action brought in which a farm or farm operation is alleged to be a nuisance, if the
defendant farm or farm operation prevails, the farm or farm operation may recover from the plaintiff the
actual amount of costs and expenses determined by the court to have been reasonably incurred by the farm or
farm operation in connection with the defense of the action, together with reasonable and actual attorney fees.
History: Add. 1995, Act 94, Eff. Sept. 30, 1995.
286.473c Property subject to disclosure; contents of statement.
Sec. 3c. (1) Certain real property is subject to those disclosures described in section 7 of the seller
disclosure act, Act No. 92 of the Public Acts of 1993, being section 565.957 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
A seller of real property located within 1 mile of the property boundary of a farm or farm operation may
voluntarily make available to the buyer the following statement: This notice is to inform prospective
residents that the real property they are about to acquire lies within 1 mile of the property boundary of a farm
or farm operation. Generally accepted agricultural and management practices may be utilized by the farm or
farm operation and may generate usual and ordinary noise, dust, odors, and other associated conditions, and
these practices are protected by the Michigan right to farm act..
(2) Certain subdivided land is subject to those disclosures described in section 8 of the land sales act, Act
No. 286 of the Public Acts of 1972, being section 565.808 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
History: Add. 1995, Act 94, Eff. Sept. 30, 1995.
286.474 Investigation of complaints involving farm or farm operation; memorandum of
understanding; generally accepted agricultural and management practices; unverified
complaints; applicability of other statutes; preemption of local ordinance, regulation, or
resolution; ordinance proposed by local unit of government; generally accepted
agricultural and management practices for site selection and odor controls at new or
expanding animal livestock facilities; advisory committee; manure management plan;
duties of department; definitions.
Sec. 4. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the director shall investigate all complaints involving a farm or farm
operation, including, but not limited to, complaints involving the use of manure and other nutrients,
agricultural waste products, dust, noise, odor, fumes, air pollution, surface water or groundwater pollution,
food and agricultural processing by-products, care of farm animals and pest infestations. Within 7 business
days of receipt of the complaint, the director shall conduct an on-site inspection of the farm or farm operation.
The director shall notify, in writing, the city, village, or township and the county in which the farm or farm
operation is located of the complaint.
(2) The commission and the director shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the director of
Rendered Wednesday, January 28, 2009 Page 2 Michigan Compiled Laws Complete Through PA 502, 525, 538,
544, 546, and 584 of 2008
Ó Legislative Council, State of Michigan Courtesy of www.legislature.mi.gov
the department of environmental quality. The investigation and resolution of environmental complaints
concerning farms or farm operations shall be conducted in accordance with the memorandum of
understanding. However, the director shall notify the department of environmental quality of any potential
violation of the natural resources and environmental protection act, 1994 PA 451, MCL 324.101 to
324.90106, or a rule promulgated under that act. Activities at a farm or farm operation are subject to
applicable provisions of the natural resources and environmental protection act, 1994 PA 451, MCL 324.101
to 324.90106, and the rules promulgated under that act. The commission and the director shall develop
procedures for the investigation and resolution for other farm-related complaints.
(3) If the director finds upon investigation under subsection (1) that the person responsible for a farm or
farm operation is using generally accepted agricultural and management practices, the director shall notify, in
writing, that person, the complainant, and the city, village, or township and the county in which the farm or
farm operation is located of this finding. If the director identifies that the source or potential sources of the
problem were caused by the use of other than generally accepted agricultural and management practices, the
director shall advise the person responsible for the farm or farm operation that necessary changes should be
made to resolve or abate the problem and to conform with generally accepted agricultural and management
practices and that if those changes cannot be implemented within 30 days, the person responsible for the farm
or farm operation shall submit to the director an implementation plan including a schedule for completion of
the necessary changes. When the director conducts a follow-up on-site inspection to verify whether those
changes have been implemented, the director shall notify, in writing, the city, village, or township and the
county in which the farm or farm operation is located of the time and date of the follow-up on-site inspection
and shall allow a representative of the city, village, or township and the county to be present during the
follow-up on-site inspection. If the changes have been implemented, the director shall notify, in writing, the
person responsible for the farm or farm operation, the complainant, and the city, village, or township and the
county in which the farm or farm operation is located of this determination. If the changes have not been
implemented, the director shall notify, in writing, the complainant and the city, village, or township and the
county in which the farm or farm operation is located that the changes have not been implemented and
whether a plan for implementation has been submitted. Upon request, the director shall provide a copy of the
implementation plan to the city, village, or township and the county in which the farm or farm operation is
located.
(4) A complainant who brings more than 3 unverified complaints against the same farm or farm operation
within 3 years may be ordered, by the director, to pay to the department the full costs of investigation of any
fourth or subsequent unverified complaint against the same farm or farm operation. As used in this
subsection, unverified complaint means a complaint in response to which the director determines that the
farm or farm operation is using generally accepted agricultural and management practices.
(5) Except as provided in subsection (6), this act does not affect the application of state statutes and federal
statutes.
(6) Beginning June 1, 2000, except as otherwise provided in this section, it is the express legislative intent
that this act preempt any local ordinance, regulation, or resolution that purports to extend or revise in any
manner the provisions of this act or generally accepted agricultural and management practices developed
under this act. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a local unit of government shall not enact,
maintain, or enforce an ordinance, regulation, or resolution that conflicts in any manner with this act or
generally accepted agricultural and management practices developed under this act.
(7) A local unit of government may submit to the director a proposed ordinance prescribing standards
different from those contained in generally accepted agricultural and management practices if adverse effects
on the environment or public health will exist within the local unit of government. A proposed ordinance
under this subsection shall not conflict with existing state laws or federal laws. At least 45 days prior to
enactment of the proposed ordinance, the local unit of government shall submit a copy of the proposed
ordinance to the director. Upon receipt of the proposed ordinance, the director shall hold a public meeting in
that local unit of government to review the proposed ordinance. In conducting its review, the director shall
consult with the departments of environmental quality and community health and shall consider any
recommendations of the county health department of the county where the adverse effects on the environment
or public health will allegedly exist. Within 30 days after the public meeting, the director shall make a
recommendation to the commission on whether the ordinance should be approved. An ordinance enacted
under this subsection shall not be enforced by a local unit of government until approved by the commission of
agriculture.
(8) By May 1, 2000, the commission shall issue proposed generally accepted agricultural and management
practices for site selection and odor controls at new and expanding animal livestock facilities. The
commission shall adopt such generally accepted agricultural and management practices by June 1, 2000. In
Rendered Wednesday, January 28, 2009 Page 3 Michigan Compiled Laws Complete Through PA 502, 525, 538,
544, 546, and 584 of 2008
Ó Legislative Council, State of Michigan Courtesy of www.legislature.mi.gov
developing these generally accepted agricultural and management practices, the commission shall do both of
the following:
(a) Establish an advisory committee to provide recommendations to the commission. The advisory
committee shall include the entities listed in section 2(d), 2 individuals representing townships, 1 individual
representing counties, and 2 individuals representing agricultural industry organizations.
(b) For the generally accepted agricultural and management practices for site selection, consider
groundwater protection, soil permeability, and other factors determined necessary or appropriate by the
commission.
(9) If generally accepted agricultural and management practices require the person responsible for the
operation of a farm or farm operation to prepare a manure management plan, the person responsible for the
operation of the farm or farm operation shall provide a copy of that manure management plan to the city,
village, or township or the county in which the farm or farm operation is located, upon request. A manure
management plan provided under this subsection is exempt from disclosure under the freedom of information
act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246.
(10) The department shall do all of the following:
(a) Annually submit to the standing committees of the senate and house of representatives with jurisdiction
over issues pertaining to agriculture and local government a report on the implementation of this act.
(b) Make available on the department's website current generally accepted agricultural and management
practices.
(c) Establish a toll-free telephone number for receipt of information on noncompliance with generally
accepted agricultural and management practices.
(11) As used in this section:
(a) Adverse effects on the environment or public health means any unreasonable risk to human beings or
the environment, based on scientific evidence and taking into account the economic, social, and
environmental costs and benefits and specific populations whose health may be adversely affected.
(b) Commission means the commission of agriculture.
(c) Department means the department of agriculture.
(d) Director means the director of the department or his or her designee.
History: 1981, Act 93, Imd. Eff. July 11, 1981;¾Am. 1995, Act 94, Eff. Sept. 30, 1995;¾Am. 1999, Act 261, Eff. Mar. 10, 2000.

New to backyard chicken farming . We have 1 Buff Orpington, 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes & 2 Easter Eggers. I have a 3-1/2 year old daughter who is in love with these fine feathered creatures, a husband who is tolerating the idea and me who thinks this is a lot of fun.
Reply
New to backyard chicken farming . We have 1 Buff Orpington, 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes & 2 Easter Eggers. I have a 3-1/2 year old daughter who is in love with these fine feathered creatures, a husband who is tolerating the idea and me who thinks this is a lot of fun.
Reply
post #2 of 1724

What exactly is it you want to know?

I have 1 Hubby, 2 Boys, 5 Miniature Schnauzers, 1 Mastiff, and some cute little mutt hens.
Reply
I have 1 Hubby, 2 Boys, 5 Miniature Schnauzers, 1 Mastiff, and some cute little mutt hens.
Reply
post #3 of 1724

The hatchery you speak of is where I got my chickens. They are very nice folks, and my suggestion is to call them. They will gladly answer any questions you have.
Basically, you are within your rights to have chickens. There have been some supreme court cases here in MI that have basically said no town or city ordinance can override the right to farm act. Sometimes you have to educate a City or Town on the right to farm act because they may not be aware of it. If you have any other questions you can PM me, and I'll do my best to help you out smile

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post #4 of 1724

Great post!

"The true test of a mans character is what he does when no one is watching."
John Wooden
Reply
"The true test of a mans character is what he does when no one is watching."
John Wooden
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post #5 of 1724

She PMed me. I explained as best I could, and hopefully it helped her out some smile

Bluemoon

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post #6 of 1724
Thread Starter 

It helped a lot. Thanks. smile

New to backyard chicken farming . We have 1 Buff Orpington, 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes & 2 Easter Eggers. I have a 3-1/2 year old daughter who is in love with these fine feathered creatures, a husband who is tolerating the idea and me who thinks this is a lot of fun.
Reply
New to backyard chicken farming . We have 1 Buff Orpington, 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes & 2 Easter Eggers. I have a 3-1/2 year old daughter who is in love with these fine feathered creatures, a husband who is tolerating the idea and me who thinks this is a lot of fun.
Reply
post #7 of 1724

I tried reading through that whole Right to Farm thing.  It was a little confusing to my mini brain...  Can you explain it in layman's terms?  Is there any stipulation on size of property or what constitutes a "farm".  Do we have to register anything, or post anything or fulfill any requirements?  I live on an acre and a half, by a lake.  Subdivision has grown up around me.  There is an association, but I have read the bylaws and there is nothing in it about poultry raising.  We are not zoned agricultural, though we are on the edge of farmland and the nearest city is 25 minutes away.

Cathy-Wife to 1 wonderful hubby, mom to 5 kids, Memaw to 3.
"...How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.." Mathew 23:37
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Cathy-Wife to 1 wonderful hubby, mom to 5 kids, Memaw to 3.
"...How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.." Mathew 23:37
Reply
post #8 of 1724

No in MI it does not matter if you have 1/10th a acre or 100 acres. They wrote the law this way on purpose. The RTFA covers you as long as you practice GAAMP ( Generally Accepted Agricultural Practices )

Some Town and City ordinances go against the Right To Farm Act, and due to some supreme court cases ( I believe the most recent one was in 2007 or 2008 ) The supreme court basically said... Town and City Ordinances can not trump State Law. You can go to the MI.gov website and find a copy of both our State Law and a section that explains what GAAMP is.

If you live in a city or town that does not know about RTFA and GAAMP you can print copies from MI.gov website and supply them a copy for their reading pleasure. Most of the time they will back off after that.

Bluemoon

* edited for typos*


Edited by Bluemoon420 - 5/22/09 at 7:16am
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post #9 of 1724

but you must sell your products in order to let this fly!

post #10 of 1724
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd 

but you must sell your products in order to let this fly!


Yes smile Thanks Boyd smile  Put a sign out on your lawn that says $2/doz ( or $20/doz ) it doesn't matter. You also don't need to show proof you sell them. Just a sign will work. There is no dollar amount associated with RTFA in MI.


Bluemoon

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