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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Brownsburg, Indiana, USA
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    176

    Default Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    Michigan residents lost their “right to farm” this week. This is a new ruling by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development. Gail Philburn of the Michigan Sierra Club told Michigan Live, the new changes “effectively remove Right to Farm Act protection for many urban and suburban backyard farmers raising small numbers of animals.” Previously backyard and urban farming were protected by Michigan’s Right to Farm Act but The Commission has ruled that the Right to Farm Act protections no longer apply to many homeowners who keep small amount of livestock. Kim White, who keeps chickens and rabbits, said, “They don’t want us little guys feeding ourselves. They want us to go all to the big farms. They want to do away with small farms and I believe that is what’s motivating it.” The ruling will allow local governments to ban goats, chickens and beehives on any property where there are 13 homes within one eighth mile or a residence within 250 feet of the property.

    The Right to Farm Act was created in 1981 to protect farmers from the complaints of people from the city who moved to the country and then attempted to make it more urban with anti-farming ordinances. These new changes will affect residents of rural Michigan too. Shady Grove Farm in Gwinn, Michigan is on six and a half acres and homes 150 egg-laying hens that provide eggs to a local co-op and a local restaurant. This small Michigan farm also homes sheep for wool and a few turkeys and meat chickens to provide fresh healthy, local poultry. “We produce food with integrity,” says Randy Buchler of Shady Grove Farm. “Everything we do here is 100 percent natural — we like to say it’s beyond organic. We take a lot of pride and care in what we’re doing here.” Shady Grove Farm was doing its part to educate and provide healthy, local, organic food to the people of Gwinn. It reflects the attitudes of hundreds of other small farms in Michigan and thousands of others popping up around the nation. This loss of right to farm comes within days of a report by The World Health Organization that stated the world is currently in severe danger of entering a post-antibiotic era. The WHO’s director-general Dr. Margaret Chan argued that the antibiotic use in our industrialized food supply is the worst offender adding to the global crisis. “The Michigan Agriculture Commission passed up an opportunity to support one of the hottest trends in food in Michigan – public demand for access to more local, healthy, sustainable food,” Gail Philbin told MLive.

    “There’s a lot of unnecessary legal action being taken against small farms who are doing good things in their communities,” said Randy Buchler, who is also on the board of directors for the Michigan Small Farm Council. The Michigan Small Farm Council actively fought to support Michigan farming freedom, but ultimately the Commission voted to approve the new restrictions.

    How is this happening in this day and age!! How can we teach our children to grow organic food and have the chance to cleanse there bodies (and ours) of the pesticides and toxins that are used on the large farms and to rid us of the processed foods when “they” take away our very right to feed ourselves!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Caledonia,michigan
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    This is confusing to me,It sounds like if a housing development is built in the middle of a farming community,it can basically shut down all the area farms within it's range?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,596

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    I really do not think you will see this enforced too often. It is one more law that is there if absolutely needed by law enforcement.
    One more thing... money is the root of all evil. I'm just saying.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Hopkins, MI USA
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Beeman View Post
    I really do not think you will see this enforced too often. It is one more law that is there if absolutely needed by law enforcement.
    One more thing... money is the root of all evil. I'm just saying.
    Unfortunately, at least at the outset of the law, this is not the case. There are a lot of people being told that they have to get rid of their animals. I have not heard much about bees but there are several small farms raising chickens, goats, horses, and cattle that the local communities jumped on as soon as this law passed.

    Buyer beware! If you plan on raising animals/bees, be sure to check your local zoning prior to buying!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,864

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    In 99% of the cases, this law will not be enforced, period.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,502

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    I don't believe this is a good move for Michigan but there are two sides to the story. If someone moves next to a farmer the farmer needs to be protected but it sounds like the farm is coming into the city or village. Don't the people who are there need to be protected too? Mind you we have animals, bees, and many gardens within the city limits so what I am say could slit my own throat.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    cumberland me
    Posts
    230

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    Well, I don't know what city people need to be protected from regarding livestock and farms, and gardens. What are people so fearful of?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,132

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    If you prefer to read what the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development released itself about this issue, here is the link:

    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/md...20140827075325

    Note that these changes only apply to land NOT zoned for agriculture, and towns can still choose to allow any animal raising activity within town limits if that is what the local town residents/board vote for.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    First off this didn't just happen this week. It happened in May The reason for dumping the right to farm was abuse. People living in cities were trying to over ride local ordinances. People were trying to bully cities and villages. I raise hogs, chicken and bee's. I am still protected as long as I follow GAAMPS. Here a link http://animalwelfare.msu.edu/animalwelfare/gaamps
    I have a little town a few miles away that didn't allow any stock animals. A couple of people ran a petition and went to many town meetings and got the ordinance change to allow a couple of laying hens, no roasters and no free range per yard. This was the right way to go about it

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
    Posts
    328

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    Ya, there is both sides of the coin. The local news here in Grand Rapids interviewed a couple, you could call their home inner city. From what I saw in the clip, no you can't have a flock of chickens in your back yard and call yourself a farmer.
    I wouldn't expect my neighbors to put up w/ my 18 hives set on my 1/4 acre lot, nor would I do it to them.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Stone County Ar. USA
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Beeman View Post
    I really do not think you will see this enforced too often. It is one more law that is there if absolutely needed by law enforcement.
    One more thing... money is the root of all evil. I'm just saying.
    Actually , it's not money , but the LOVE of money that's the root of all evil . I found out recently from my DIL that lives in my house in Memphis Tn that they have passed similar ordinances . I think if you dig deep enough you'll find Big Farm money involved in this . The last thing Monsanto wants is for us to be able to feed ourselves . Soylent Green , anyone ?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stilwell, KS
    Posts
    1,819

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    Quote Originally Posted by thehackleguy View Post
    Unfortunately, at least at the outset of the law, this is not the case. There are a lot of people being told that they have to get rid of their animals. I have not heard much about bees but there are several small farms raising chickens, goats, horses, and cattle that the local communities jumped on as soon as this law passed.

    Buyer beware! If you plan on raising animals/bees, be sure to check your local zoning prior to buying!
    If you already had chickens / bees before you are re-zoned as residential, wouldn't you be grandfathered in? At least that's way way it work around here.
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Stilwell, KS
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    1,819

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    Quote Originally Posted by linn View Post
    Well, I don't know what city people need to be protected from regarding livestock and farms, and gardens. What are people so fearful of?
    Saw this on the news this morning. High-end country club community that was built near a gigantic tomato farm. Most of the people that were interviewed were soccer moms in yoga pants walking on a paved trail that went right past the farm.

    http://fox2now.com/2014/08/26/hundre...-rot-in-field/
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    allen,indiana,usa
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    Unless someone is going to put bees on the golf course, or next to the mall. I don't really understand the point of 1/8 mile from 13 houses, or whatever it is. Bees will forage for what? 3-5 miles, what's next no bees 5 miles from a house? Come on man!!!!!!!!!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,577

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    This is all very predictable to me. Keeping livestock in the cities is bound to run into glitches, be it from problems caused by irresponsible animal owners, or nearby neighbors who overreact to the presence of animals. How many posts have we seen here about neighbors freaking out over bees. Add some crowing roosters, goats, pigs, and you've got a perfect recipe for conflict. I don't think it has much to do with "money". To me its about the freedom of individuals to enjoy their homes as THEY see fit, and not living with what their neighbors impose upon them. I suspect to see much more of this as the pendulum swings back.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Lakeland, Florida
    Posts
    440

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    How tall is the fence ordinance in Michigan? What cant be seen must not be there. (as it applies to bees anyway. kinda hard to hide a mooin cow or cockledoodledo rooster) Just sayin.
    3 hives/2 nucs

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,502

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    Quote Originally Posted by Nabber86 View Post
    If you already had chickens / bees before you are re-zoned as residential, wouldn't you be grandfathered in?
    We are grandfathered in with our chickens because there was a permit involved. If there is no permit or registration involved then there is no record to go back to to claim grandfather.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    The right to farm act was written to protect people just like me in Michigan and a week after is was dropped I was on the phone to my state rep. I have a Centennial farm meaning that it has been held and run by a single family for over 100 years. I am not part of that family as I bought this place 10 years ago and continued to farm it. 3 years ago they rezoned it as transitional residential. I can continue doing what I do because we are grandfathered in but there is a 40 right next to me to the north that could someday be homes. As of now it is planted in corn. The right to farm was a act that stopped complainers from taking farmers to court. It was not written for people to have chicken in town and in fact was not written for honey bee's. As I stated above I have hogs and chickens. Also as I stated above if GAAMPS is followed a farmer cant be sued

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Bowie, Maryland
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    I understand that this only applies to certain zoning.
    But, is the new change outlaws any and all "farming" where farming means commercial/for sale, or any and all "farming" meaning animal husbandry even if it is for self use only? I am thinking here homesteaders, or individuals interested on self sufficiency whose primary interest is not a commercial venture.

    Quote Originally Posted by danno View Post
    ... As I stated above I have hogs and chickens. Also as I stated above if GAAMPS is followed a farmer cant be sued

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stilwell, KS
    Posts
    1,819

    Default Re: Michigan Loses Right to Farm Farewell to Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

    Quote Originally Posted by Santa Caras View Post
    How tall is the fence ordinance in Michigan? What cant be seen must not be there. (as it applies to bees anyway. kinda hard to hide a mooin cow or cockledoodledo rooster) Just sayin.
    Really? I state-wide fence ordinance?
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

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