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Here we are at last to the farmer citizen, wishing only to engage in agriculture and bewildered at both the opportunity that Michigan's Right to Farm Act affords, and at the efforts of MDARD to stymie agricultural rights for anyone.  For most backyard chicken farmers, agricultural issues at the state level are new territory, and have only been made sensible by the sharing of information by a number of venues, most especially the Backyard Chickens website, on the Michigan Right to Farm Law, what does it mean? thread, which began in 2009.  By the summer of 2012, participants in this thread were attending monthly meetings of the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development, to protest changes that had already occurred to the 2012 GAAMPS, which exempted 1.5 million citizens from Right to Farm protection, and to protest the proposed changes to the 2013 Site Selection GAAMPS that would have exempt 80 percent or more of Michigan residents from Right to Farm protection - effectively reversing the 1999 amendment to the Right to Farm Act for small farmers in both urban and rural areas.  

At the December 2012 Agriculture Commission meeting, the proposed changes to the 2013 Site Selection GAAMPS were not approved, by a unanimous vote of the commission.  To my knowledge, this is the only time in the history of the GAAMPS that a proposed change to the GAAMPS promulgated by MDARD to the Commission has not been approved.  During the same meeting, however, it was stated that the Commission would not reconsider the changes made the previous year to the 2012 GAAMPs Preface.  

As a result of the changes to the 2012 GAAMPs Preface and the proposed changes to the 2013 Site Selection GAAMPs, people interested in working to maintain Right to Farm protection for all Michigan citizens formed a new organization called the Michigan Small Farm Council.  If you are a resident of Michigan interested in these issues, we invite you to join.  It is easy and free.  Please also check out our FaceBook page.

During 2013 all was (relatively) quiet on the GAAMPs front, with no GAAMPs proposed to the Agriculture Commission, and none approved.  Members of the Michigan Small Farm Council, however, continued to attend meetings of the Agriculture Commission, and to build an organizational structure for the MSFC.

This brief period of calm ended in January 2014, when MDARD announced a public comment period on what would become the 2014 GAAMPs.  The Michigan Small Farm Council released an Action Alert, the Action Alert was picked up by the press, and two weeks later MDARD had received feedback from 684 small farmers and their supporters, objecting to changes to the Site Selection GAAMPs that would effectively deny Right to Farm protection to everyone in the state living in residentially-zoned areas.  Part of what happened next is told in the series of This is Not About Chickens blog that were written during March, 2014.  Other parts of what happened are told in the Newsletters, Action Alerts, and other MSFC Member Notifications.  These and other documents produced by the Michigan Small Farm Council are shown here, to document the history of our efforts to oppose changes to the GAAMPs that have the effect of making it impossible to grow food legally for most citizens in the state of Michigan.

 

May 15, 2014   MSFC Statement to the Senate Agriculture Committee on the 2014 Site Selection GAAMP

May 14, 2014   MSFC Answers MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams on the 2014 Site Selection GAAMP

May, 2014       MSFC Member Action Alert UPDATE - Change in venue for Senate Ag Committee Meeting

May, 2014       MSFC Member Action Alert - Senate Agriculture Committee Meeting on May 15

March, 2014   MSFC Member Update - 2014 Site Selection GAAMP and Agriculture Commission Meeting

Feb 12, 2014   MSFC Statement to Agriculture Commission on 2014 GAAMPs Public Comment Period

Feb, 2014       MSFC Member Newsletter - Statement to Ag Commission on 2014 Public Comment Period

Jan, 2014        MSFC Member Newsletter - Deanna's Story

Jan, 2014        MSFC Member Action Alert - Public Comments on 2014 GAAMPs

Nov, 2013       MSFC Member Newsletter - Michigan's Right to Farm At Risk

Oct, 2013        MSFC Member Newsletter - Storm Over Michigan

May, 2013       MSFC Certificate of Incorporation

Dec 19, 2012   MSFC Letter to Agriculture Commission on the Proposed 2013 Site Selection GAAMP

Aug 22, 2012  WLB Statement during Public Comment Period on Proposed 2013 GAAMPs

July 17, 2012   WLB Statement to Agriculture Commission on the Approved 2012 GAAMPs Preface

May 15, 2014  WLB Statement to Senate Agriculture Committee on 2014 Site Selection GAAMP

Oct 5, 2017      WLB Statement to Senate Agriculture Committee on Senate Bills SB 108 and SB 109

2013 - Sample Manure Management Plan written in preparation for a GAAMPs inspection.  

2015 - Ferrysburg Proposed Ordinance

2017 - Cooper Township Proposed Ordinance Changes, Annotated