Full Policy Name:
Topics: Agriculture, Urban Farming
Policy type: Act
Year: 2014

Under Michigan’s Right-to-Farm Act (RFTA), or PA 93 of 1981, the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development (MCARD) can develop and adopt Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMPs) for commercial farm operations that produce farm products in Michigan. While the RFTA generally preempts most local regulations, the GAAMPs are a set of voluntary farming practice guidelines that farmers may follow to claim RTFA protections from nuisance lawsuits. The amendments to the Site Selection and Odor Control for New/Expanding Livestock Facilities GAAMPs in 2014 established a set of four categories for farms based on land size, animal units, and proximity to residential areas. In general, urban livestock may not be suitable in Category 4 sites if zoning does not allow for agricultural land uses by right. Category 4 sites are defined as primarily residential sites with more than 13 non-farm homes within an eighth of a mile of the livestock facility or one non-farm home within 250 feet of the livestock facility. If a farm does not meet these GAAMPs, then local governments have the authority to decide whether livestock may be permitted in these areas. Additionally, the Site Selection GAAMPs do not apply in municipalities with a population of 100,000 or more if a zoning ordinance allows for agriculture in such a way that recognizes existing farm operations as legal nonconforming uses as described in the RFTA.

Relationship to food access, food insecurity, or local food economies:

Urban agriculture can support community capacity building and increase access to healthy and locally grown foods (Santo et al. 2016; White 2011). The recent changes to the Site Selection GAAMPs afford local governments in Michigan with more flexibility to enact livestock ordinances that are appropriate for their needs (Redick 2014).

Scale of Governance: State
Summary Link: URL
Policy Text Link: URL
Michigan Good Food Charter Priority: Priority 7 - Farmland preservation & viability

Redick, R. (2014). MICHIGAN COMMISSION OF AGRICULTURE REINS IN URBAN FARMING. Agricultural Management Committee Newsletter, 19(2). Retrieved from LINK.

Santo, R., Palmer, A., & Kim, B. (2016). Vacant Lots to Vibrant Plots: A Review of the Benefits and Limitations of Urban Agriculture. John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future: Baltimore, MD. Retrieved on October 7, 2016 from LINK.

White, M.  (2011). D-Town farm: How African American resistance to food insecurity is transforming Detroit. Environmental Practice, 30(4): 406-417.