Michigan Right to Farm Act: A shining example of a law that supports small-scale farmers, local and sustainable food systems

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: Right to Farm Act, small-scale farmers, sustainable food

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
BACK INTO THE CLOSET: Why U.S. reporters are not allowed to write about rainbow events in nations where being gay is still condemned
Depopulation test run? 75% of children who received vaccines in Mexican town now dead or hospitalized
A family destroyed: Six-month-old dies after clinic injects baby with 13 vaccines at once without mother's informed consent
INVESTIGATION: Three days before Dr. Bradstreet was found dead in a river, U.S. govt. agents raided his research facility to seize a breakthrough cancer treatment called GcMAF
BAM! Chipotle goes 100% non-GMO; flatly rejecting the biotech industry and its toxic food ingredients
BOMBSHELL: China and America already at war: Tianjin explosion carried out by Pentagon space weapon in retaliation for Yuan currency devaluation... Military helicopters now patrolling Beijing
ECONOMIC SLAVERY FOR ALL: While we were distracted with the Confederate flag flap, Congress quietly forfeited our entire economic future via fast-track trade authority
March Against Monsanto explodes globally... World citizens stage massive protests across 38 countries, 428 cities... mainstream media pretends it never happened
GMO crops totally banned in Russia... powerful nation blocks Monsanto's agricultural imperialism and mass poisoning of the population
SCOTUS same-sex marriage decision may have just legalized the concealed carry of loaded firearms across all 50 states, nullifying gun laws everywhere
Nearly every mass shooting in the last 20 years shares one surprising thing? and it's not guns
Vicious attack on Dr. Oz actually waged by biotech mafia; plot to destroy Oz launched after episode on glyphosate toxicity went viral
Holistic cancer treatment pioneer Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez dies suddenly; patients mourn the loss of a compassionate, innovative doctor who helped thousands heal from cancer
Pepsi drops aspartame from diet soda as consumers reject toxic sweetener
Bride of Frankenfood: Hillary Clinton pushes GMO agenda... hires Monsanto lobbyist... takes huge dollars from Monsanto
Wild eyes and bowl cuts: Why do mass shooters always share the same hair styles and crazed zombie stares?
Mind control through emotional domination: How we're all being manipulated by the "crisis of the NOW"
Genetically white woman now claims self-identify as black: If you can choose your gender, can you also choose your race? What about your species? Can a human claim to be a llama?
(NaturalNews) For nearly 15 years, the state of Michigan has had special laws in place that protect small, family-scale farmers from being driven off their land by local zoning ordinances, nuisance lawsuits, and other legal measures often used to prevent individuals from growing and raising their own food. And even after all this time, the Michigan Right to Farm Act (MRFA) still serves as a model template for protecting and encouraging local, sustainable food systems that work.

The law, which was passed back in 1999 and came into effect in 2000, essentially protects individuals who wish to farm or otherwise use their land to produce food from being targeted by their cities and townships for elimination. Backyard chicken farmers, for instance, or families that grow their own fruits, vegetables, and herbs, are recognized as having the freedom to do so by MRFA, so long as they follow generally accepted agricultural and management practices.

There has been no shortage of cases in recent years where local cities and townships have mowed down vegetable gardens or even driven homeowners to suicide over the issue of farming in residential zones. All of these cases have occurred outside of Michigan, where right-to-farm legislation has never been enacted. But things are different in Michigan, where honest, hard-working farmers who follow proper sanitary and noise guidelines are free to produce food, even in areas generally recognized as "urban."

"The Michigan RTFA protects from nuisance complaints any farm that is engaged in 'the commercial production, harvesting and storage of farm products,' regardless of sales volume, so long as the farm operation conforms to Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices as established by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD)," writes Peter Kennedy for Mother Earth News about the law.

"The Michigan RTFA is a template for the defense and encouragement of local food production and the restoration of agriculture to its rightful place -- integrated into communities."

You can read the full provisions of MRFA here:

Many small farmers in Michigan have been protected by MRFA

Take the case of Randy and Libby Buchler, owners of Shady Grove Farm in Forsyth. The couple raises chickens and sheep on their 6.5-acre property, and they sell eggs and wool locally. In 2009, the Forsyth Township attempted to shut down the farm by claiming its existence violates a local zoning ordinance -- Shady Grove Farm is located in an area zoned as "Lake Residential."

Three years later, a judge ultimately ruled that Shady Grove Farm is not in violation of local zoning ordinances because it operates within MDARD guidelines and is ultimately protected by the provisions of MRFA. MRFA's guidelines, after all, were carefully designed to override local laws that might try to sidestep them, including those of Forsyth.

Local farmers in Midland, which is located in Michigan's Tri-Cities region, are also grateful for the sweeping protections of MRFA. The township's zoning ordinance recently had to be amended to align with the provisions of MRFA, as it restricted people like resident Jenny Lowe from raising backyard chickens. Though the actual text of Midland's zoning ordinance has yet to be amended, the township has realigned its position to the benefit of family farmers.

"Michigan has the best Right to Farm Act in the nation," says Pete Kennedy, an attorney and President of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF).

To learn more about Right to Farm legislation, or to push for its passage in your state, be sure to visit FTCLDF:

Sources for this article include:

Follow real-time breaking news headlines on
Right to Farm Act at
Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...


Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.