Judge Holds Michigan Right to Farm Act Protects Family Farm

The Right to Farm Act was invoked as a defense when the familyfarm was sued by Forsyth Township for having approximately 150chickens and 8 sheep on their 6.5 acres; the Buchlers sell eggs andwool produced on the farm. Because the area where they farm is notzoned for agriculture, the township sought an injunction to haltthe farming activities. The judge held that the Right to Farm Actcontrolled over the township zoning ordinance.

“Michigan has the best Right to Farm Act in the nation. It isgreat to see the court upholding it in their decision,” saysattorney Pete Kennedy, President of the Farm-to-Consumer LegalDefense Fund (The Fund).

The Fund retained attorney Michelle Halley of Marquette as leadcounsel to represent the Buchlers; Fund board member and attorneySteve Bemis of Ann Arbor served as co-counsel in the case.

The Buchlers’ attorney, Michelle Halley said, “Judge Solka’sopinion is spot-on and well-reasoned. He applied the law aswritten; this case really was that straight-forward. This decisionis a victory for the Buchlers and farmers across Michigan.”

Michigan’s Right to Farm Act contains a broad and clear edictstating that commercial farms that conform to applicable GenerallyAccepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMPs) are notsubject to nuisance suits. The Act was further amended and tookeffect in 2000 to make its preemption of local zoning even moreclear.