Ok Peeps. Here Is The Skinny On The Mrtfa!


9 Years
Oct 10, 2010
Grand Blanc, MI
I just got off the phone with the michigan department of agriculture. A man, who shall remain nameless, provided me with some reassuring information. I do not own chickens yet but do have awful neighbors so I wanted to make sure that when they called to complain, the township would know what my rights are. After reading the MRTFA and the GAAMPS, I emailed my township and was told that I could in-fact own livestock if I had 10 contiguous acres. Which of course I do not. The man from MDA said that it should be my right to operate a farm on my property because my residential zoning allows for livestock, despite the fact that I don't have the acreage because the MRTFA protects me from that stipulation. As long as you observe the GAAMPS, you should be fine. That doesn't mean that someone cannot lodge a complaint. That doesn't mean that you cannot be investigated. My only concern was then the restriction on outbuildings and the permit for the coop. He then referred me to ACT 230 OF 1972 which says that outbuildings used for agricultural purposes do not require a permit. They should however observe the setback restrictions, it's just neighborly. I hope this helps all of you chicken keepers in Michigan who are battling with townships, neighbors, etc. I plan on sending my township an email with attachments to the MRTFA and the GAAMPS. I will proceed from there. On another related note... If you are part of an HOA, I don't believe the MRTFA will or should protect you. It is a voluntary contract entered into. That is why I was careful to buy a house without an HOA. I don't like rules!

Hope this helped. And PLEASE don't try and track down the man I talked to. He simply doesn't have the time to answer all the same questions he did for me. He told me everything he knows so I promised to pass it on to all of you. I swear he was really worried if I posted that I talked to him, everyone was going to call and hound him!
This is some more proof that the 2001 amendment of the MRTFA overrides local zoning. Take that Michigan townships!



http://web5.msue.msu.edu/lu/pamphlet/Blaw/SelectedPlan&ZoneCourt RTFA 1964-2006.pdf

http://www.animalagteam.msu.edu/uploads/files/20/Tech Bullitin Land Use.pdf (Big thanks to Denninmi for finding this one!)

edited to remove the actual location of the trouble-maker (me)
Last edited:
Did the MDA guy say anything about the MDA clarifying RTFA? I'm in a 'debate' w/ my city about its protection to urban "farms". I've heard the Attorney General is also supposed to clarify the law, but again, no word on when.

To answer hensintheheights, (edited to add, given the language of the act this is what I believe should happen but is open to interpretation by a judge)

The MRTFA always, Always, ALWAYS protects your farm if:
1. You are a commercial farm. (Sell or have the intent to sell a product eggs, chicks, honey, produce, etc)
2. You abide by the GAAMPS. (You may be investigated by the MDA and if found lacking will be given a chance to make changes)

Here is the part of the bill to back that up:

(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.

Your zoning is irrelevant to your farm as long as you meet the criteria. The planning commission association even states that in one of the links in the previous posts. They don't like it, are trying to change it, but are acknowledging it anyway. There is a bill in the works to amend the MRTFA to exclude cities with a population of 900,000 or more but that would only affect Detroit, as it is the only city big enough to qualify, and this bill has not been approved.

Here is what you need to do:
1. Read the GAAMPS. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mda/2011_DRAFT_ANIMAL_CARE_331745_7.pdf
. If you are not currently conforming, get it done!
3. Print out a copy of the MRTFA and highlight section 286.474 #6 (the section quoted above) http://www.legislature.mi.gov/%28S%28gwvdzlyavgct2na0juwz3fui%29%29/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-act-93-of-1981&queryid=8769063&highlight=
. Print out a copy of the GAAMPS or at least the parts that pertain to your animals. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mda/2011_DRAFT_ANIMAL_CARE_331745_7.pdf
. Print out the articles in the previous posts, highlight all the pertinent information and published cases. Links are on the first post.
6. Take these documents to your township office in person and ask to give them to the appropriate person, yourself.
7. Breathe a sigh of relief! You've done your part for now.

As for the guy from MDA, he said it was a gray area. I'm pretty sure that he just doesn't want townships and villages blaming him for people starting up farms they don't want. When I re-read the above section of the MRTFA, there is no gray area. It is very clear, the goal of the amendment was specifically to override ANY local ordinance that isn't in compliance with the MRTFA. I don't know how I missed it before but it's there in black and white, no ifs ands or buts.

Please let me know if you need any more help. Oh, and why don't I just write a book.
Last edited:
I agree. Thank you very much, Ms. Ross, for posting this information.

You are truly Supreme!

(Sorry, I just couldn't resist).
Last edited:
Whew - thats amazing. Makes me almost want to hang onto my blue silkie roo.... hmmm. Thank you so much for checking into this for all of us who can't be in the middle of 10 acres.
Holy thread revival, Batman!

You are so welcome. I'm all about sticking it to the man! And we might have been able to find acreage but finding the best school district far outweighed the desire to have no neighbors.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom