We believe Michigan's Right to Farm Act is the model for our country. The Act has allowed all sectors of commercial agriculture to move forward utilizing existing and new technologies through generally accepted management practices on a voluntary basis while enhancing the environment.
The integrity of Michigan’s Right to Farm Act and science-based Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMPs) should not be weakened or jeopardized by including practices not integral or directly related to farming.
We recognize the fundamental differences between farming operations in terms of size, soil types and location. We urge all producers to be aware of applicable GAAMPs and encourage all producers to employ the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program and provisions of the Farm Bill as management tools in the production and expansion of their operations.
We will work with MDARD and Michigan State University to inform farmers, local units of government and other interested individuals of the positive benefits of the Right to Farm Act and GAAMPs. We encourage all farmers to follow the recommendations to demonstrate positive concerns for our neighbors and the environment. We encourage greater farmer participation on township boards and planning commissions to review existing ordinances, help educate about Right to Farm and GAAMPs, and assist in the creation of ordinances that are consistent with the Right to Farm Act. We encourage the state of Michigan and local units of government to structure their programs, ordinances and community development plans in a manner consistent with the Right to Farm Act.
We urge Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) to study and make recommendations for amendment to the Right to Farm Act that would provide additional protection to agricultural producers enrolled in either PA 116 or a permanent farmland preservation program.
We support the continued use of GAAMPs to define acceptable farm management practices in the state of Michigan. We support a cooperative effort among MDARD, MFB, and other stakeholders to establish a definition for “commercial production of farm products” within the GAAMPs framework.
GAAMPs should be viewed as guidelines rather than statutory law, as they are reviewed and updated annually to reflect current agricultural practices. Consideration should first be given to amending existing GAAMPs to address those areas of concern, followed by investigation into creating new GAAMPs if deemed necessary.
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.
We are concerned about the exemption of GAAMP applicability to municipalities with a population of 100,000 or more.
We urge greater producer participation on all GAAMP Committees.
The electronic complaint process should include a complete description of the law, including the process and implications for both verified and unverified complaints. Following the official Right to Farm visit, follow-up correspondence and appropriate action shall be communicated to the farm owner and the complainant in a timely fashion, including the ability of MDARD to bring enforcement action against the farm and/or the complainant.
We urge MDARD to notify all complainants of the law which allows MDARD to levy a penalty for unverified complaints. We strongly urge MDARD to recoup the costs of investigating unverified complaints, as provided for in the Right to Farm Act. We do not support anonymous Right to Farm complaints.