“Many Michigan residents will lose their right to keep livestock on their own property due to a new ruling from the state’s Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Commission ruled April 28 that local governments have the right to ban livestock from any area zoned residential in the state.
The action will “effectively remove Right to Farm Act protection for many urban and suburban backyard farmers raising small numbers of animals,” Gail Philbin of the Michigan Sierra Club told Michigan Live. The Right to Farm Act is a state law designed to protect farmers from nuisance lawsuits and zoning regulations. The Commission ruled that the Right to Farm (RTF) Act does not apply to homeowners who keep small numbers of livestock.
“It’s all ‘Big Farm,” and it’s ‘Big Farm” deciding against the little farm,” Kim White, who raises chickens and rabbits, said of the Commission’s vote. “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 Commission is essentially taking sides in the marketplace,” Philbin said.
Bees, Chickens and Goats Now Illegal?
Governments could ban goats, chickens and even bee hives on properties where there are 13 homes within an eighth of a mile of a livestock property or another home within 250 feet of the property, under the Commission’s ruling, Michigan Public Radio reported….”
Goodbye Urban Farming:
“Michigan residents lost their “right to farm” this week thanks to 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.” Backyard and urban farming were previously protected by Michigan’s Right to Farm Act. The Commission ruled that the Right to Farm Act protections no longer apply to many homeowners who keep small numbers of livestock.
Kim White, who raises 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 arbitrarily 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, according to Michigan Public Radio. 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. The new changes affect residents of rural Michigan too. It is not simply an urban or suburban concern.
Shady Grove Farm in Gwinn, Michigan is the six and a half acre home to 150 egg-laying hens that provide eggs to a local co-op and a local restaurant. The 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,” Randy Buchler told The Blaze about 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 bring healthy, local, organic food to the tables of Gwinn residents, and it mirrors the attitudes of hundreds of other small farming operations in Michigan and thousands of others popping up around the nation. The ruling comes within days of a report by The World Health Organization that stated the world is currently in grave 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….”