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.
- Agricultural operations not being restricted to only operating under their historical use.
- Developing realistic plans for land use, which will allow agriculture to change, incorporate technology and produce commodities based on market demands.
- An expanding livestock farm not be considered a nuisance as a result of new home construction (non-farm residence) within the approved setback distance after the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) site approval, but prior to completion of the expansion.
- Research regarding manure storage, manure processing, building design, and types of livestock feed that could mitigate nuisance odors.
- Development of an odor estimation model for Michigan's climatic conditions.
- Changes to the Agricultural Disclosure Statement (ADS) that would include:
- Seller notification to the potential buyer.
- A separate document at the time of closing.
- Updating the ADS to include additional agricultural practices.
- The Michigan Right to Farm Act should allow for and protect users of existing and new technology, including energy production for on-farm use.
- Right to Farm protection being extended to marijuana growing facilities until growing the plant becomes legal at the federal level.
- Ballot initiatives seeking to control generally accepted livestock production and management practices.
- The inclusion of commercial wind turbine or solar facilities in the definition of a farm.
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 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.
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.
- The action taken by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development to remove the language specific to local zoning from the siting and farm market GAAMPs.
- Creation of a GAAMP for ag labor housing.
- The creation of a Greenhouse GAAMP that provides nuisance protection for permanent and temporary greenhouse structures, used for commercial or production ag purposes other than cannabis, regardless of population, zoning, or tax classification.
- The continued use of GAAMPs to define acceptable farm management practices in the state of Michigan.
- A cooperative effort among MDARD, MFB, and other stakeholders to establish a definition for “commercial production of farm products” within the GAAMPs framework.
- The use of non-farm residences to define setbacks for manure structures and stacking.
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.