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Lapeer Co. growers bone up on Right to Farm Act

MDARD staffer Kyle McCarty briefs Lapeer County farmers on Michigan’s Right to Farm Act.
Date Posted: June 6, 2024

Right to Farm inspector Kyle McCarty of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) delivered an insightful presentation for Lapeer County Farm Bureau members focused on the intricacies of the Right to Farm Act and its implications for small producers.

The May 23 event marked a shift from last year’s focus on township officials to this year’s target audience of small producers. McCarty’s presentation aimed to clarify the legal framework and practical applications of the Right to Farm Act, ensuring producers of all scales are well-informed and compliant with the law.

McCarty, himself a member of the Sanilac County Farm Bureau, began by explaining the Act’s purpose and significance for Michigan farmers.

“The Right to Farm Act is designed to protect farmers from nuisance lawsuits, provided they follow the Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMPs),” he said. “It’s crucial for producers to understand these practices and how they apply to their operations.”

He meticulously walked the group through each GAAMP, covering topics such as site selection and zoning regulations, manure management and pesticide use. McCarty emphasized the importance of adhering to these standards to maintain legal protection under the Act. His comprehensive explanation of each GAAMP was met with keen interest as attendees took notes and prepared questions.

The interactive session saw McCarty addressing numerous questions from members, which ranged from zoning issues to the distinction between agribusiness and commercial business on a farm. He provided clarity on the complexities of building zoning regulations, offering guidance on both new and existing structures.

The discussion highlighted concerns common among small producers, particularly regarding how to navigate the regulations and permits required while expanding their operations. McCarty’s expertise and approachable manner helped demystify these challenges, providing attendees with practical knowledge and confidence to manage their farms effectively.

The Lapeer County Farm Bureau praised McCarty for his thorough and engaging presentation. 

“We’re grateful to Kyle for taking the time to help inform our members,” said Michelle Peel, chair of Lapeer County Farm Bureau’s Promotion & Education program. “His insights are invaluable to small producers who often face unique challenges in understanding and applying the Right to Farm Act.”

McCarty’s commitment to education and support for Michigan’s agricultural community is evident. By fostering open dialogue and providing clear guidance, he is helping to ensure that all producers, regardless of size, can thrive within the framework of the Right to Farm Act.

Mackenzie Delong is the administrative coordinator for the Lapeer County Farm Bureau.

Laken Polega portrait.

Laken Polega

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