LANSING — Experts say a provision involving site selection for new and expanding livestock farms will pass in May, despite being previously tabled.
According to Matthew Kapp, a governmental relations specialist for the Michigan Farm Bureau, a vote in favor of removing a zoning provision in Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMPs) is expected to occur at the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development’s next meeting, May 15.
“We’re disappointed the commission tabled the issue given that it’s been under consideration and discussion for several months,” Kapp said. “And, we’ve had more than 400 Farm Bureau members submit comments in support to the commissioners. Our organization looks forward to the commissioner’s voting in support in May as it’s in the best interest of the state’s agriculture and livestock sector.”
MFB supports the removal of zoning from the GAAMP per MFB’s Right to Farm policy:“The GAAMP for site selection and odor control for new and expanding livestock facilities has specific setbacks and scientific parameters. We strongly recommend the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development remove the language specific to local zoning from the siting GAAMP.”
MDARD’s Jim Johnson said staff will “move forward with the siting GAAMP as it exists right now with the anticipated additional changes to the GAAMP that will come at the May meeting of the commission.”
“Clearly, there were some ideas that the commissioners had about the content of that GAAMP,” said Johnson, director of the environmental stewardship division for the MDARD. “I think the good news out of today is they agreed with the changes that we’re headed toward in concept.
“It really comes down to the details that need to be clearly identified in the language itself.”
The reason MFB supports removing zoning from site selection GAAMP is due to multiple townships using this stipulation in order to prevent new livestock operations.
“The Right to Farm Act … preempts local decision making that runs contrary to the Right to Farm Act itself or GAAMPs,” Johnson said. “We look at performance-based decisions around whether or not you’re in compliance with the Right to Farm Act. This kind of question comes up quite often and these restrictions in terms of livestock actually exist all over the place.”