Backyard Farmers Blast Proposal To Exclude Them From “Right To Farm” Law

Feb 12, 2014

A state board is getting set to decide whether to strip protections from Michiganders who raise chickens and other livestock in residential areas.

As The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher reports, dozens of “backyard farmers” and their supporters blasted the proposed rule change in Lansing Wednesday.

Michigan agriculture officials say a state law protecting farmers from nuisance complaints and lawsuits should not apply to residential farmers. They say the law was written to protect larger farms when people were moving to rural parts of the state from urban and suburban areas.

Wendy Banka is with the Michigan Small Farm Council. She says agriculture officials are trying to protect large corporate farm operations at the expense of small farmers.

“Why they aren’t on the side of folks everywhere who want to participate in agriculture is curious and unfortunate because these people should be fighting for our rights because they know how important it is,” she says.

A state agriculture commission is expected to make its final decision on the proposed rule change next month.