Backyard Farms

NOAA

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss how Congressman John Conyers might not be in the August primary because of a problem in nomination petitions, how the state is running out of money to give to struggling schools, and how backyard farming might become more difficult in the months ahead.

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Life could soon get a little harder for backyard farmers.

A law passed in 1981 protects Michigan farmers from nuisance lawsuits. It’s called the Right to Farm Act.  It was created to protect farmers from angry neighbors who were moving out into rural areas from cities.

At the moment, the law also protects people who raise chickens and other animals in their backyards.

Wendy Banka lives in Ann Arbor.  She has seven chickens with orange feathers living in a coop in her backyard.

Josh Larios / Wikimedia

Many small and urban farms could lose the protection of Michigan's Right to Farm Act.

The Act protects farmers against nuisance lawsuits if they follow Michigan's Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMPS).

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development wants to exclude farms with fewer than 50 animals from Right to Farm protection if those farms are in areas zoned exclusively residential.