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Michigan Loses ‘Right To Farm’ This Week: A Farewell To Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers

Michigan backyard chicken farmers lost their Right To Farm protection under the new GAAMP changes.

Michigan residents lost their “right to farm” this week thanks to a new ruling by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development. Gail Philburn of the Michigan Sierra Club told Michigan Live, the new changes “effectively remove Right to Farm Act protection for many urban and suburban backyard farmers raising small numbers of animals.” Backyard and urban farming were previously protected by Michigan’s Right to Farm Act. The Commission ruled that the Right to Farm Act protections no longer apply to many homeowners who keep small numbers of livestock.

Kim White, who raises chickens and rabbits, said, “They don’t want us little guys feeding ourselves. They want us to go all to the big farms. They want to do away with small farms and I believe that is what’s motivating it.” The ruling will allow local governments to arbitrarily ban goats, chickens and beehives on any property where there are 13 homes within one eighth mile or a residence within 250 feet of the property, according to Michigan Public Radio. The Right to Farm Act was created in 1981 to protect farmers from the complaints of people from the city who moved to the country and then attempted to make it more urban with anti-farming ordinances. The new changes affect residents of rural Michigan too. It is not simply an urban or suburban concern.

Shady Grove Farm in Gwinn, Michigan is the six and a half acre home to 150 egg-laying hens that provide eggs to a local co-op and a local restaurant. The small Michigan farm also homes sheep for wool and a few turkeys and meat chickens to provide fresh healthy, local poultry. “We produce food with integrity,” Randy Buchler told The Blaze about Shady Grove Farm. “Everything we do here is 100 percent natural — we like to say it’s beyond organic. We take a lot of pride and care in what we’re doing here.” Shady Grove Farm was doing its part to bring healthy, local, organic food to the tables of Gwinn residents, and it mirrors the attitudes of hundreds of other small farming operations in Michigan and thousands of others popping up around the nation. The ruling comes within days of a report by The World Health Organization that stated the world is currently in grave danger of entering a post-antibiotic era. The WHO’s director-general Dr. Margaret Chan argued that the antibiotic use in our industrialized food supply is the worst offender adding to the global crisis. “The Michigan Agriculture Commission passed up an opportunity to support one of the hottest trends in food in Michigan – public demand for access to more local, healthy, sustainable food,” Gail Philbin told MLive.

Meanwhile, neighboring Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed Senate Bill 179 a few weeks before which freed up poultry and egg sales from local and state regulation. Yesterday, the USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced massive funding to support research about small and medium-sized family farms, such as small farms ability to build-up local and regional economic systems. “There’s a lot of unnecessary legal action being taken against small farms who are doing good things in their communities,” said Randy Buchler, who is also on the board of directors for the Michigan Small Farm Council. The Michigan Small Farm Council actively fought to support Michigan farming freedom, but ultimately the Commission voted to approve the new restrictions.

“Farm Bureau has become another special interest beholden to big business and out of touch with small farmers, and constitutional and property rights of the little guy,” Pine Hallow Farms wrote to the Michigan Small Farm Council. The Michigan Farm Bureau endorsed the new regulatory changes. Matthew Kapp, government relations specialist with Michigan Farm Bureau, told MLive that the members weighed in and felt that people raising livestock need to conform to local zoning ordinances. The Farm Bureau did not feel Michigan’s Right To Farm Act was meant to protect the smaller farms, and ultimately the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development agreed.

[Photo courtesy of City Chickens Gone Country]

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230 Responses to “Michigan Loses ‘Right To Farm’ This Week: A Farewell To Backyard Chickens and Beekeepers”

  1. Simply Living Good

    This is ridiculous! There is no logical reason for this bill to be passed other than to cut off small, self sufficient farms and people causing people to have to go to big farms. That lady was dead on! I hope that every small farmer and homesteader fights this tooth and nail — time to start writing letters and making phone calls people! Do all that we can to get this insanity reversed!!

  2. Leslie Bart

    "The Farm Bureau did not feel Michigan’s Right To Farm Act was meant to protect the smaller farms, and ultimately the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development agreed." EXCUSE ME??!! That's exactly who it was meant to protect!! They're all being paid off by the large scale commercial farmers and the property developers.

  3. Amy Christian McCormick

    Chickens cause severe health concerns for a portion of the population. Hypersensitivity pnemonitis destroys the lungs. People need protection from neighbors' chickens. The current rules in Ingham County are insufficient to provide protection. This change by the Michigan Department if Agriculture is one step in the right direction for protecting peoples' health.

  4. Joann Brady

    only in a VERY few, and only by prolonged close proximity……it is doubtful that anyone would be affected by a few chicens in a neighbor's yard

  5. Mark Ehle

    People need protection from people like Amy.

  6. Deborah Rutkowski

    When you take from the little an give it all to the big you will see it all fall apart. History proves itself. This is worth a fight.

  7. Miranda Decker

    Yeah, a VERY small portion! Neighbors also need to talk to each other. If I want chickens, I'll talk to my neighbors about it. If one of them has, or has a child with, some immune compromising condition or even severe asthma, guess what? I wouldn't do it! On that same point, if you're looking to move and the house you wanna buy is next to someone raising chickens and you're gonna have a problem with that? Don't move in there. Next they're going to want to tell people like me (urban farmer) hat I can't grow my vegetables in my backyard. Veg. that we live of of AND that we donate to food soup kitchens, shelters and go hand out to the homeless ourselves (once we make something with it.) This is government micromanagement. They need to not be trying to tell us what we can and can't do on our own property.

  8. Carole Fisher Spainhower

    Once again the government is trying to usurp our personal rights and freedoms. Forcing people to consume big market food loaded with crap. Does this mean farmers markets are a thing of the past? How long until we can't have vegetable gardens in our yards??

  9. Mary MacMaster

    Amy – By your theory and due to a small number of those who have allergies we should therefore do away with all pets, lawns, gardens and aftershave because someone in the vicinity may have an allergic reaction. Ridiculous!
    May I suggest that those with the allergy problems show some individual responsibility and common sense by not moving into rural and semi-suburban area's!

  10. Mary MacMaster

    Wouldn't you know that the Sierra Club is involved with this as well as the big Agri-Business Farming.
    Gwinn, MI is a small whistle-stop community in the U.P. that does not even have a stop light and yet the MI Commission of Agriculture is putting their and what should be illicit foot on the necks of Shady Grove Farm and other small farmers.

  11. Bruce David

    Apparently, this ruling might violate several provisions in the law which would require public hearings throughout the state prior to ANY ruling from a non-elected body. I would urge everyone to make inquiries of their state rep…I know I will. I might have to file a lawsuit in this regard.

  12. Brandon Orr

    It is really simple. If you don't like what someone is doing on their property then you need to either make an offer large enough that they sell said property to you, move away from them, or be quite about it. No one has any right to tell someone else what to do on their property. Your health concerns are your responsibility and no one else's. If you are worried about your health then you take steps to protect yourself. You don't force everyone else to change to accommodate you.

  13. Mae West

    Why have so many in government or public disservice become our foe rather than our friend?

  14. Stacey Davis Yepez

    Careful, I know there are two states that don't allow them. One I believe is Florida, can't remember the other one. :( So not fair.

  15. Jan Stowe

    There is a big push in urban Detroit to turn empty lots into vegetable gardens to feed the inner city poor- watch out, They will soon be telling you you can't do that either, I am so sick of this state.

  16. Melissa Sebree

    I guess we should also start rounding up all the sparrows and robins before they land in someone's yard….Holy cow get a grip.

  17. Stacey Davis Yepez

    This is absolutely ridiculous!!!!! They are trying to make us more dependent on the gov't and big business. What happened to us being able to take care of ourselves? What are people going to do if there's another big stock market crash, and people lose their jobs and don't have money to buy food? Imagine what that will cause. Time to start fighting and take OUR backyards back!

  18. Jennifer Bryson Smith

    I think Amy, what you're going for is: People need to be protected from people who raise their chickens in unclean conditions where the animals are overcrowded and stepping in each other's waste and then are vaccinated to prevent the diseases caused by that. Hmmm…sounds like most of the big egg suppliers for grocery stores. Most intelligent people know that back-yard chickens are healthier, happier, and rarely carry disease…the people I know who raise backyard chickens for eggs cannot keep up with the amount of people who want those eggs.

  19. Matt Riley

    Brandon Orr
    It is really not that simple – seeing as the smell and sounds travel off of the property of the "farmer".

  20. Matt Riley

    Melissa Sebree
    I have never had a robin or sparrow wake me up at 5:30 in the morning. A rooster has.

  21. Paul Franco

    Jan Stowe – You are exactly right. Do your research and follow the money. Sue, protest, get in their faces and let them know that you ARE following the money and you'll find out soon enough why they really are doing this. Make them scared because government should fear the people, not the other way around. Fight, dammit!. Fight!

  22. Matt Riley

    In the post-crash apocalyptic world that you fear, this decision can be changed. I think most laws and ruling are out the window when Mad Max shows up.

  23. Karyn Merchant Streeting

    I live in an urban area and Crows and Cardinals wake me up in the morning, not to mention the deer running though my yard and eating vegetation along with the rabbits… least if the chickens ere mine, I could eat them and their eggs!

  24. Lauren Darren Tomford

    I don't live in MI but how can you take the rights of people having animals that produce what helps feed the families away? Back in the older days this was the only way of life and the only way to provide. Growing crops, having chickens, cows, goats etc etc.. Before long this will be the only way people will be able to survive.

  25. Melissa Sebree

    I love my roosters and they are no louder than someone's barking dog… If chickens are maintained properly there is no smell and the flies aren't a problem. It blows my mind how so many people are uninformed and down right ignorant to the actual truth about farm animals. I have lived by many more obnoxious dog owners than people with chickens and had to smell the nasty backyards they don't clean up, dogs digging up my yard, barking at all hours of the night and people who don't flea treat their animals infesting my yard. I have even had a dog kill some of my chickens in my yard. My dogs are kept where they should be as are my other animals. It's really up to the owner of any animal to be responsible. I have two roosters and they are kept in the coop in the early morning and none of my neighbors can hear them inside their houses. So unless you're sleeping in your backyard or living next to a cockfighting ring. A well maintained flock shouldn't be problem

  26. Matt Riley

    Karyn Merchant Streeting
    If you don't have a rooster outside your window to compare – you have no idea what you are talking about.

  27. Mike Hall

    fuck that i know for a fact old jerry down the road will still sell eggs. Those chickens are his buddies. #undergroundchickenblackmarket

  28. Amy Christian McCormick

    I suppose you repliers don't want people in this category to have protection from neighbors who don't check to see if their neighbors have a condition. My mother is such a person. I suppose you don't care if she is killed by the hobby of a neighbor who didn't ask her if installing a chicken coop would hurt her. The Ingham county rule doesn't protect her. She was there before the neighbor built the chicken coop and she already had the medical condition from prior exposure to birds. She moved once because of it. So you think it's fair she might have to move again because of a neighbor's decision. And if you move in next to her new place and put chickens there, she would have to move again. Do you really think that's fair? People need legal protection from this type of problem. Just because you say you would do the right thing doesn't mean other people would. Your right to breathe trumps my right to farm close to your house EVERY day. And by the way, this condition is not as rare as some of you think.

  29. Jason Hall

    Matt Riley Sure. I do not have roosters for that reason. It could disturb any nearby neighbors. I have 3 adult egg laying chickens that make much less noise than your average dog, smell much less than the spots where my neighbors cat keeps pissing under my porch and the area they occupy cleaner than many folks with no animals at all.. dogs, cats.. whatever. I keep it all clean and tidy.

  30. Octhc Garden Grove

    Illuminati at it's finest. Buying our Govt so they can have all the power.

  31. Amy Christian McCormick

    Incidentally, the problem I describe is going on in a residential neighborhood in Lansing, not in a rural or semi-rural area.

  32. Melissa Sebree

    If I pay for my property I should have the right t o farm. It's my land. I hate it for people who have an issue of some sort but I am not going to stop doing what I love and what feeds my family (we not only eat the eggs and the chickens but we sell fresh eggs too and also have milk goats) Your mother cannot avoid birds… They are every where. So I suppose your mother wears a mask while walking outside her home? As I said before a properly maintained coop should not be a problem. Iam deathly allergic to bees but I am not on mission to ban beekeeping… People need to mind their own business and if some is that bothered by something their neighbor has a legal right to do, then yes they should move.

  33. Amy Christian McCormick

    Local governments can still allow vegetable gardening even after this ruling from the Michigan Department of Agriculture. Those of you who think your vegetable gardens are at risk need to understand this.

  34. Katie Cornell

    Okay, so what about the Amish? I live in the Morley/Stanwood area in Mecosta county and we have Amish all over here, they are practically next door! Does this bill mean they can't continue raising farm animals either? This bill is just plain wrong! I don't have a small farm personally but our friends next to us do, and I couldn't imagine someone telling them they couldn't raise meat for their family, or grow veggies to can for themselves to eat throughout the winter…Farming is the most basic survival instinct us as humans have to take care of ourselves..The government has to right to take that away!!

  35. Jason Hall

    Bill McPherson I think it's funny when people can't spell correctly while they are calling other people idiots.

  36. Mary MacMaster

    Amy Christian McCormick – Amy Christian McCormick – My cousin was allergic to mown grass. Should all of her neighbors have had their lawns torn up and cemented over to circumvent my cousin's allergies?
    Maybe your mother should move to a high rise … away from anything that could cause her a reaction and therefore let the neighbors who have chickens, dogs, cats that don't cause them any symptoms to keep what they enjoy.. Or, should we have all birds … , cardinals, robins, sparrows, chickadee's etc… obliterated for your mother's sake?

  37. Amy Christian McCormick

    Hypersensitivity pneumonia is is life threatening. It's not like an allergy to mown grass that is inconvenient and can be treated with Benedryl or Zyrtec. This condition cannot be treated with allergy medications. It's too bad that you all want to do your own thing so badly that you don't care if you kill someone in the process. Not all of you have that view, but some of you do. Those people are willing to make decisions that can kill people and they just chalk it up to blaming the victim.

  38. Allen Puckett

    Bill McPherson Bill McPherson well your mentioning of the word "Fur Burger" in you comment just made you sound like a bald headed pig.

  39. Parkarm Jugait

    We need still start putting bullets in the heads of corrupt law makers. Fuck letters they don't read that stuff

  40. Troy Davis

    Bill McPherson Sr. Product Engineer at Magna Cosma International I am sorry that you feel the need to name call. I hope this was just one bad day that you were having.

  41. Carole Fisher Spainhower

    I didn't know that stacey!! How asinine.

  42. Tim Heiss

    Bill McPherson your post may be gone from the site, but it's already been sent to your employer. Maybe you should think twice before posting that women are "Fur Burgers"

  43. Connie Christian

    My next door neighbor died of Hypersensitivity pneumonitis related causes in November. She never had pet birds or chickens herself, but one of her neighbors did have a chicken coop. The aerosolized chicken feces and feather dander was blowing into her house for years. She never knew what was killing her until she was finally diagnosed around 2008. Her doctors never looked at possible bird causes because she never had any birds of her own. If exposed to chicken dander and airborne chicken feces about 15% of the population is susceptible to develop Hypersensitivity pneumonitis and that is not insignificant. This is in a residential neighborhood in Lansing where the houses are very close together. Chickens are not suitable for areas with high density population. It would be like planting a peanut crop where you know that there is high foot traffic and neighbors close enough that they would have to move away if they were allergic to peanuts.

  44. Whatcha Doin

    Incidentally, it's affecting rural and semi-rural areas too! I can understand living in the city and not wanting to live next door to a chicken farmer, but people that own a few acres of properly naturally have the expectation that they can raise a few chickens for eggs.

  45. Jay Morgan

    I feel for you your family Amy, and having a life threating aliment is hard for everyone in the family. Understand that many of the backyard farmers are also trying to avoid the life threating ailments caused by commercial farming. As far as having to keep moving, she has a fairly simple solution to buy into a community that has a association. A association has always been able to trump the right to farm act.

  46. Randall Nissen

    Who is going to protect us from our "Protectors"? This is what happens when you look to people who produce nothing to grant you permission to live.

  47. Cathy Rose

    Amy you mean like Big Pharma ,who kill untold numbers for profit ? I think many people are tired of the revolving door of the rule makers and the profit makers mandating what we must do .

  48. Joe Postelwait


  49. Bethanny Parker

    The document you linked to is dated March, and the article says these changes are taking place this week. Do you have a link to the new document?

  50. Patti Zingelman Weaver

    Hey Amy you like eggs? Fried of baked chicken? I like mine chemical free. So I have the right to to raise my own chickens on my mini farm. You can have your cancer causing super market food. So tired of being told what we can and cannot do. This is America which means FREEDOM!!!!

  51. Aj Janes

    Then move back into the big cities where your o2 is filtered.. leave the farmers and backyards alone… as for this being so need to be educated… I have environmental lung issues and livestock are not the is the big businesses who think that it is ok to spray their crap everywhere..what it is caused by is chemicals not livestock…

  52. Natalie Gibbs

    Matt Riley FYI, Roosters were never allowed, only hens, & they make very little if any sound. Quiet little birds, your dog is louder & more disruptive to your neighborhood than any chicken.

  53. Ronald Rousseau

    Sooooo Commie if I do say so myself, So when is Animal Control coming for the Livestock and where will they Slaughter the poor Chickens,Cows,Pigs,Goats,Bunnys,Dogs,Cats etc, will they do it in our backyards or do they have there own place to murder the poor animals…..

  54. Natalie Gibbs

    It seems they will do just about anything to take our attention away fro the real crimes against us going on. The evening news reports on celebrities is sickening. They think we are all sheep.

  55. Natalie Gibbs

    Miranda Decker : They need to get us the hell out of Afghanistan next year we will spend 85 BILLION hard earned tax dollars for that war alone. It was figured it would cost 62 Billion to give a free university education to all students. See anything wrong with this picture yet? The amount of chickens allowed is small, like 3. They provide free pest control & fertilizer for your small garden as well as being nice pets. A lot o people are allergic to cats & dogs too.

  56. Natalie Gibbs

    Amy, so tell me how many people have died so far BEFORE this became a new law? How many dear?? Can you come up with even one example? I didn't think so, or it would have happened a loooong time ago.

  57. Josh Curtis

    Matt Riley tell that to our neighbors dogs that bark all day long non stop. Our hens hardly make any noise.

  58. Teri Donovan Springer

    Sorry, the RTFA never applied to suburban and urban farmers. If you had ever read the act, you would know this. It specifically states that it applies to COMMERCIAL farming. Meaning only farms that filed taxes as a farm, were protected. If you want to raise livestock, move. No one in the city should have to smell or listen to your chickens, pigs, goats or any other TRADITIONALLY farm animal. That's why they are called farm animals…because they belong on a farm…not crammed in between a bunch of houses. Don't get me wrong, I am all for raising your own fruits and vegetables in your yard (front or back). But many people who have raised livestock in suburban and urban areas don't care for the animals properly and the noise and smell denies their neighbors the right to enjoy their homes and yards. I lived on a farm for MANY years and I still live adjacent to one. I accept the fact that there are smells and noises associated with farming….but I CHOSE to live here. If I chose to live in Milwood I would do so expecting that I would not be subjected to the smell of liquid manure being spread and having my neighbor's goats taking down the fence and helping themselves to my garden.

    Thank the irresponsible suburban and urban farmers for this ruling….if they hadn't pissed off their neighbors this never would have come up.

  59. Nettie Atwood

    Jenifer Pruim last one out shut off the lights plz , wake up people God put animals on this earth for us to eat and to have companmanship its called a food chain. When you can no longer grow food for your selves because the government and the FDA are putting all these poisions in our food mark my words all, the mark of the beast is coming and they will all have to answer to God. Pray for our country because thats what God wants us to do.

  60. Ruth Seydell Gundy

    So what your saying Amy is that your mom has a trespassing issue and comes too close to the neighbors chickens in order to complain??

  61. Nettie Atwood

    what do you mean take our back yards back we are all renting from the government we dont own them you pay taxes (rent) on your land or lose it how does that make it yours humm…

  62. Lynn Vander Meer

    Matt Riley No carrots don't crow, but I would much rather listen to a crowing rooster that the lawn jockeys that cut grass and weed whack at 6am. a 55' x 110' foot lot, back to back, block after block, everyone keeping their own schedule from morning light to dark. Annoying.

  63. Nettie Atwood

    Miranda Decker be smart and put the coop where it dont effect them if you want to consider your neighbors their outside for heavens sake

  64. Marilyn Arnett

    what about "Pure Michigan" I thought that was meant to encourage people to have small "homegrown" ideas. I realize that they can't afford to regulate these small cottage industry operations BUT for many this is a way to supplement their income as well as provide for their own needs, this will not bode well for Gov. Snyder if he doesn't rescind this ruling.

  65. Maurie McGleish

    Another act of stupidity that again proves that you have to be brain-dead to work for the government. We're so glad we left Michigan when we did. If that commission tried that here in Oklahoma, their families would be planning their funerals.

  66. Clara Masuch

    Stacey Davis Yepez The other state is MI…. we can't have veg.'s in our front yard, or on the side of or homes…. has to be in the back…. (where the sun don't shine!")
    We're not allowed to feed ourselves as we need to… we are ordered to go the store and buy what we need!!! gma's and all!

  67. Laura Phelan

    Stacey Davis Yepez I went to a farmer's market in Florida two months ago, so unless something has changed…

  68. Louis Olvitt

    just makes ya shake your head in disbelief!

  69. John McKinney

    Mae West Because your vote doesn't really count for anything. The winner of any election will be whomever has friends in the right places. Our "elected" officials will always look out for a corporation over the general public.

  70. Dawn Deedee

    Can you join forces with the Michigan Small Farm Council if you haven't yet?

  71. Dawn Deedee

    Matt Riley Garbage trucks do though…. And dogs… And neighbor's babies … And sirens.

  72. Dawn Deedee

    So does RoundUp, but I don't see that being banned anywhere…

  73. Patrick Fenlon

    Write to, email or call your representative. Make him/her work for a change. Fight this ruling! Fight big business oppression!

  74. Josh Curtis

    you can bet this was because independent folks were affecting sales of big business…. Members

    Yes vote
    Robert Kennedy (R), St. Charles: Chair
    Term expires 12/31/2014
    Auburn Bean & Grain Co.
    200 million in annual sales

    Yes vote
    Diane Hanson (I), Cornell: Vice Chair
    Term expires 12/31/2014
    Dennis Hanson Potato Farm / Hanson Seed Farm
    460,000 in annual sales

    Yes vote
    Trever Meachum (R), Hartford
    Term expires 12/31/2015
    High Acres Fruit Farm
    $770,000 in annual sales

    Yes vote
    Fred Walcott (R), Allendale
    Term expires 12/31/2016
    Valley View Pork, LLC
    $20 to 50 million in annual sales
    Received a WARNING LETTER from fda
    the warning letter is because of “a food is deemed to be adulterated if it bears or contains a new animal drug that is unsafe”

    No vote
    Dru Montri (I), Bath
    Term expires 12/31/2017
    Ten Hens Farm
    Director of Michigan farmers markets

  75. Carole Fisher Spainhower

    Clara I'm in michigan I didn't know that either. What the heck.

  76. ChanMarie Allen

    Good luck with this Michigan! I will continue to have chicken and feed my family with my own grown veggies and fruits and eggs. I'd rather eat what I know rather then trust a shitty government willing to put chemicals, hormones and steroids in what we eat!

  77. ChanMarie Allen

    Oh and one more thing…..the usda the same ppl who tell us stuff is safe and then oops I guess not looks like we have to take it off the shelf because of ur quick 3 month studies…..yea I don't trust this shitty government as far as I can throw any of yas! Let's not forget YOU WORK FOR THE PEOPLE……WE DONT WORK FOR YOU!!

  78. Matt Riley

    Bigchiefjoe Miller
    You are the reason that zoning rules exist. All the people who keep a few chickens quiet and clean should be mad at you for ruining it for them.

  79. Robert Haugland

    You can get Toxoplasmosis from cats and it is a lot more common than anything that you can catch from Chickens. Should we ban cats?

  80. Robert Haugland

    You can catch Toxoplasmosis from cats and it is a lot more common than anything you can catch from Chickens. Should we also ban cats?

  81. Monte Miller

    I bet the the Michigan Commissioners who approved these changes would be MORTIFIED if one of their neighbors had a chicken coop near their property. In the circles they run around in (i.e. the rich) it is ridiculous for anyone to have their own farm animals.

  82. Monte Miller

    I have two neighbors within two blocks who have chicken coups. There used to be one two houses away before they moved.

  83. Raymond LeBlanc

    My wife is allergic to cats, but I can not get rid of them because they are allowed to run lose in the neighbor hood. They use every inch of exposed dirt as a toilet, so bad that I had to take out my flower beds to be able to open my windows because of the litter box smell. My wife is reaching the point that medicine no longer works. Sometimes it gets to the point that her throat feels like it closing off and she has trouble breathing, but we can't do anything about the cats because they are someones pet and people in the neighborhood like to put food out for them so we have to deal with between 20-40 different cats living on this block alone not counting the wandering males. So if I follow your reasoning I should be allowed to ban all cats from the area?

  84. Bruce David

    First I need to contact Daley, our state rep to have this reviewed for accuracy and perhaps clarification prior to any kind of legal or other action. It's usually wise to work first within standard parameters before more serious action.

  85. Stephanie Suwarato

    whats next they will say we cant have gardens? sucks because we planned on having a couple chickens when we moved :(

  86. Stephanie Suwarato

    I was thinking that too, I wouldnt be surprised :( this just stinks

  87. Stephanie Rene Roach

    This is against your 1st and 2nd amendment! We need to take back America!

  88. Sherri Shepherd Rieger

    Big government also includes State government trying to dictate what we can & cannot do with/on our own properties!!! As long as our property tax is paid, owner of that property should have the freedom of small farming if one desires! Those that are small farming rabbits, bees, goats, sheep ect….should be grandfathered in to this new & unexceptable law!!!
    Tired of government, State & otherwise controlling our every decision in making an honest & organic living for the just of power over "We" the people!!!…it's all about Power hungry beaurocrats!!!!

  89. Sherri Shepherd Rieger

    Call & send letters to Governor & Congressman…thats what we can do about it!!!!… keep the phones ringer & the mailboxes Filled!!!

  90. Sherri Hunter

    Amy Christian McCormick Honestly, Amy. Unless your mother is actively handling those chickens a neighbor having them is not going to harm her.

  91. Tracy Tatro

    This is precisely why I am moving out of this forsaken state. I am a born and raised Michigander and I am sick and tired of this state not taking care of its citizens. Maybe it is just the cold weather blues, but southern country living is looking better and better!

  92. Sherri Hunter

    If someone moves a chicken into your mother's home you have an argument. Until then it is ridiculous to suggest that a chicken in another yard is going to be a problem and even more ridiculous to suggest that those who understand that it WON'T harm her iare somehow heartless beasts.

  93. Sherri Hunter

    That's right. Just because they are trampling on one right doesn't mean they would EVER consider trampling on another. Please.

  94. Bill Humphrey

    Stacey Davis Yepez There is currently a fight going on here on the Orlando area concerning gardens in the front yard but, it is still ok in the back yard.

  95. Sherri Hunter

    But those of us in rural areas will be affected by this as well. I live on 18 acres, yet thanks to people like you…I will be affected by these ridiculous changes as well.

  96. Jen Schneider

    Whether you are from Michigan or somewhere else in the United States, it's important that we voice our opposition for this type of persecution of freedoms… especially to feed our family in the manner that we choose. Everything the government is doing is purely based on power and money. We have got to stand up and take this country back. We are the people… NOT them. If this is not something that Michigan people want, then they need to fight back. If this is not something that any of us want that we need to support them and let our own states know how we feel. Otherwise, eventually it's going to one day happen to us.

  97. Paul White

    I read the article to state that our local government will decide whether or not to apply the law via ordinance. "The ruling will allow local governments to arbitrarily ban goats, chickens and beehives on any property where there are 13 homes within one eighth mile or a residence within 250 feet of the property, according to Michigan Public Radio." So, be prepared to attend your local government meetings and discuss with the local elected officials.

  98. Lyn Backlund

    I'm still doing it! I just hope my neighbors don't complain.

  99. David Sanderson

    One need like an allergic sensitivity and a bunch of senseless bureaucrats write into law restrictions that trash our freedoms and reinforces in their small minds the importance of their role. They soon become both indispensable and self perpetuating and the worst part is they have the power of the law behind them!! This is certain to become awful!!!.

  100. Baruch Zeichner

    Law suit…completely unconstitutional…ACLU where are you?

  101. Stacey Davis Yepez

    Ya, so, what does that have to do with having animals on our own property to sustain our own families? Michigan law makers silently passed this law without any feedback from us, the consumer, the backyard farmer.

  102. Sean Peter Hiribarne Zamora

    Republican governor appoints entire agricultural commission, they vote to take rights away. People of Michigan poised to re-elect governor. If you support the man, you support this law.

  103. Miranda Decker

    Nettie Atwood Did I say that I actively HAVE chickens now? No, I didn't. And some people would still complain, even if the coop was on the opposite side of the yard from their house. Be smart, and think about how shitty people can be. Also… READ comments before you start trying to start crap with people.

  104. Miranda Decker

    Natalie Gibbs I think you're confused lol. I am FOR people being able to have their chickens, not against it.

  105. Misty Bowers

    I don't raise chickens or anything, but things just keep getting worse in this state, where is our right to live !!!!

  106. Erich Zeichner

    where, I wonder, does this legislation originate? is it the brainchild of some industry stink tank? they probably want to establish a precedent somewhere so they can start a trend…..

  107. Rebecca Putman

    Michigan is a microcosm of the larger problems going on today in our nation. We need to start fighting back soon, before it's too late.

  108. Sally Cogbill

    Don't let them do things like this! Please check out organizations like and support our efforts! Start one in YOUR area! In fact, Michigan has one themselves: The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI)

  109. Willow Bee

    Fight it fight it.fight it fight it! You dont know how important it is…you must not let them get away with this

  110. David Dickson

    This is total Bullshit.So when ya comin to yake my chickens? Better be at gun point. Time to leave this state.

  111. Jake Williams

    I couldn't quite understand the part of this discussing antibiotics, so I read this other article and now I understand the issue better: the "post-antibiotic world" would theoretically helped along by the fact that we're eating antibiotics in animal products, which help build up a resistance to them for the future. So the presence of more small/local farms (which aren't antibiotic-free by definition but are MORE LIKELY to be free of them) are a step forward in avoiding this "post-antibiotic" crisis. Either way, it really makes me angry the extent to which industrial farming appears to be trying to control every single aspect of our eating and therefore our health. Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, I just find it difficult not to get paranoid when the government is shutting down local businesses and preventing people form growing their own food without giving an good reason. When no reason is given, I'm left to assume that it's to increase the profits they reap by associating themselves with industrial farming.

  112. Sherrie Brown

    Please do!!! It is our right to be able to feed ourselves and our neighbors!

  113. Dave White

    Well guess what Michigan Commission on Agriculture and Rural development!!! If I want to raise chickens or other livestock on MY property you or anyone else like you and the big farmers are NOT going to stop me! Fine me or whatever but where there's a will there's a way !

  114. Tracy Galvani

    Clara Masuch I have a vegetable garden on the side of my house here in Michigan and have never been told I can not and so have many others I know. I have never heard of this. Would love to know where that came from so I could look into it. Thanks.

  115. Sherrie Brown

    Monsanto and the government are trying to get control of the food supply! It's all about controlling us, their corporate slaves, so we build their empire and rely on THEM for scraps. No thank you. Join your militias, plant your gardens, flaunt your livestock, read your Constitution!

  116. Brenda Kingston

    Other than making people aware of the problem, what can be done to change this? Is there a petition on

  117. Brandon Orr

    Your mom should be taking precautions to manage her illness. My daughter has a chronic illness that effects her lungs and digestion. I don't expect everyone to change in order to accommodate her. I do the responsible thing and teach her about her disease so that she is prepared to protect herself. Simply because she has a medical condition doesn't give her the right to trample on the rights of others. I firmly believe that if you are the one with the medical issues then you should be the one to make changes needed in order to help yourself. Yes, It is nice when others do so for you, but you can't force them to. I won't allow my child to use her condition as a crutch, and I sure won't teach her that her rights are more important that those of someone else. Their property= their rights, your property=your rights. Your rights end at the property line. If her neighbors are doing something that could hurt her then simply talk to the neighbors. Most decent people would willingly do whatever they could to help someone, but if they are unwilling or can't then you shouldn't force your way. Her option then would be to move away from the problem, and while researching a new place to keep her condition in mind so that she doesn't have the same issue again.

  118. Michael Dewayne Miller

    Let's sue everyone of these idiots til they have no money left. Let's shut all of these idiots down. Let's the fun begin

  119. Doris Kelsey

    The Farm Bureau has NEVER supported small farmers. It has always been an agent of corporations and big government. This is not news. They have more members in Cook County, Illinois than any other county in the country. Cook Co. IS the city of Chicago. They just farming the farmers to get richer.

  120. Bruce David

    I already have a message in to Kevin's Lansing office seeking clarification. He's good about checking things out.

  121. Lewis Colon

    Matt Riley – then you are lucky. I have a large pine tree 5' from my upstairs window and the bird racket starts around 4:30am. My neighbors chickens? Haven't heard them yet.

  122. Lewis Colon

    Matt Riley – then you are lucky. I have a large pine tree 5' from my upstairs window and the bird racket starts around 4:30am. My neighbors chickens? Haven't heard them yet.

  123. Cheryl Neal Cabiness

    Yes it is insanity this small farm or raising chickens a hog or cow for beef has been in America from the beginning and the Tea Party really blame it on something I geuss but on the people that would support such self relieance

  124. Lewis Colon

    These days, I don't think Oklahoma is the best comparison, even to Michigan!

  125. Robert Boyd

    Tim Heiss Whats wrong with a good fur bugger??

  126. Andrea Webb

    Teri Donovan Springer .. i really doubt that is the real reason. Some people don't like the idea of making our own food, the idea of where it comes from is appalling, and they don't want to be confronted with the fact that their skinless boneless chicken breast comes from something with eyes and a voice that sings in the morning or when she lays an egg.

  127. Lee Watson

    This is not a good law at all they should appeal this and vote these people out of office.

  128. Craig Banning

    Calm down my ass, Last time we were placated like that was something about a NERD saying Right to Work was not on his Agenda. This is all a symptom of the Bigger problem in this State and this country, The justification and legalization of Greed. If you believe the greed mongers will not seize this as an opportunity to further their takeover of the Government you are beyond help. Grow a set and stand up for your rights or lay down and let them run over you, it's your choice, don't you dare to tell me to calm down, You WAKE UP!

  129. Dorothy Hoyt-Reed

    Carole, and isn't it ironic that this was passed by the "small government" party? People need to wake up, and see that it's not about small government, it's about big business.

  130. Dorothy Hoyt-Reed

    Clara Masuch , I'm lucky. We have 10 raised beds in our front yard. Here in Kansas, the only places that don't let you have veggie gardens are housing developments with covenants. In Kansas City I had a friend who worked for a nursery and they had lists of housing developments with which trees and flowers were allowed. Totally ridiculous. But if you are careful where you buy, you'll be ok. Our city, Lawrence where all the "hippie liberals" live has just made it possible for people to have chickens. If there are any complaints about lack of care, it will be dealt with as if it would for a cat or dog. Some of the more conservative towns in Kansas, and there are a lot of them, ban chickens. Go figure.

  131. Anonymous

    Teri Donovan Springer Dude if you don't like the smell move back to what ever part of the inner city you came from and fix that up and leave us country folks the fuck alone

  132. Thomas J. Alleman

    Teri Donovan Springer "Those people who chose to raise animals in close proximity to their neighbors but who didn't keep up with the "housework" are to blame for this ruling. Had they been good farmers and good neighbors, it never would have become an issue." Damn you are ignorant, it is about local control. Many of people who keep animals are responsible. There are plenty of people with dogs and cats that bark and roam and no one makes it illegal to keep them, I see dog crap everywhere. I think you need to find out who is behind this ruling, big agro. We have backyard animals in Ypsilanti and I have not heard of complaints. Just wait when gardens become a nuisance. Also beekeeping does not have smells, so why ban that also. This is just a first step for control of food safety.

  133. Michael James

    When laws by wicked men become unfruitful and dangerous to God's creations, then it is right to break the law.
    :-/ God gave us life and with it inalienable rights that rich men HOLD NO SWAY OVER.
    They got issues with that? Then take it up with God.

  134. Nathan Abbott

    Maryann Pichney-Jones , Actually it is in large part liberals that cause many problems in this country. I count many liberals among my friends and family and I love them all dearly but god damn they can be stupid. That of course is not to say that the hard core republicans are better, they're just as stupid, just about different things.

  135. Apad'a Solitaire

    Teri Donovan Springer so…don't just make laws tightening the rules of keeping their FOOD animal enclosures clean, eliminate their ability to provide food for themselves. That's the way to do it.

  136. Apad'a Solitaire

    First Oklahoma with their laws controlling solar energy, now with Michigan eliminating a person's ability and right to feed themselves. Go America! SMDH.

  137. Sabrina Willis

    I'm wondering if this is affecting my family members (farmers) in Michigan. How can a state take away the basic ability to feed yourself.

  138. Sabrina Willis

    I'm wondering if this is affecting my family members (farmers) in Michigan. How can a state take away the basic ability to feed yourself.

  139. Teri Donovan Springer

    Brian Rookard And I agree to a point. I still don't think a place like Milwood is appropriate for goats, sheep, a milk cow….and this is what I hear you saying you want allowed. Chickens are already legal in the city of Kalamazoo as well as Parchment and Portage.

    As for the bees….banning bees is just plain stupid. They are not livestock. They produce no smell, very little noise (you have to get pretty close to hear them) and they benefit EVERYONE.

    No, I do agree, a "one size fits all" law is stupid.

  140. Teri Donovan Springer

    One of my biggest concerns is the issue of "small" farms. What, exactly, is their definition of a "small farm"?? 1 acre? 5 acres? 40 acres????

  141. Teri Donovan Springer

    Maryann Pichney-Jones wrote "I'd rather smell a cow than a city bus." Then move to an area where there ARE no city buses. I have no issue with keeping chickens if they do not become a nuisance. MANY cities have made the raising of backyard chickens, legal…among them Kalamazoo, Parchment and Portage. This is as it should be….handled at the LOCAL level. And, as someone else pointed out, if someone doesn't care for their animals and creates a nuisance, deal with it on an individual basis. But, chickens are one thing. I still contend that goats, cows, sheep…do NOT belong in an urban or suburban environment. If you are so set on raising your own goats, sheep or having a milk cow….move to the country for goodness sake. Use a little common sense.

    This law is too broad and arbitrary…it will be fought and better defined (hopefully). But you who are demanding your "right" to raise your own food in your backyard in suburbia, at what point did you decide that YOUR right to do so, outweighs your neighbor's right to not have your goats or milk cow standing in their backyard, eating their roses??

  142. AnnaMarie Sanderson

    UN Agenda 21 at work in the USA. All food will be regulated and controlled by the governments…. If we fail to stand up and fight now we will never regain what we are losing!

  143. Charles Giarraputo

    Keep those liberals coming. You won't recognize this country in 10 years if you keep putting these morons in office.

  144. Kathie Wilson

    I'm advocating a little Anarchy here folks-stand together and refuse to follow this oppressive law. It's totally Unconstitutional, and civil disobedience is the best way to defeat it.

  145. Lorna Lynn Willis

    These people are the perfect lake house people who want their neighborhoods all nice and neat….no matter where they are. Get off it…what is wrong with backyard chickens? Duh

  146. Deborah J. Hays

    Nothing like screwing things up for all of the 4-H kids…because this WILL affect them…

  147. Tina Moore

    Sybil Diccion i think its all of them, the government loses $ when the big business loses $, the when wal-marts sales go down because people are raising it themselves then it effects them UP the ladder, us little people don't need them as much & they aren't getting there return on it…they'll figure out a way to tax us little people so we can keep our animals or fine us & collect it that way

  148. Lonnie Carter

    This is exactly why this country is like it is, the nazi's pass laws, without "We the People", having a voice, and then the people just comply and go on,come on people buck them a little bit, remember "The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease"

  149. Jeffrey Montgomery

    Remember this when November comes around, people…


    …what other reason would they kill the small farms. leaving the ones that ship thousands of chickens, tons of beef, etc. untouched?

  150. Dale L. Tribe

    To all you city folk that seem it infest the country side if you want to move out of the city then leave your dumb ass city ways their do not bring them out here in the country. Can you not see how you screwed up the city why in gods name would you want to do the same where ever you go. It is you that's is the problem not the chickens or goats.
    If you want to smell something that stinks go to any city and that isthe stench we cannot live with.Michigan wake the hell up you dumb ass democrats

  151. Denise-Christine Collard

    Ummm… constitutional right to Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness? I'd say the right to grow your own food, both plant and animal-based, falls under this protected category. If one is breaking other laws in the process (noise, odor or other nuisance), laws are already in place to deal with that. This is simply Orwellian.

  152. Tracey Dunn Williamson

    The Amish are famous for mistreating animals. They work their horses into the ground then ship them to slaughter. They are also HUGE puppy mill people.

  153. Jeffrey Deneau

    Teri Donovan Springer there are refuse ordinances already in place that just need to be enforced. Banning livestock is too harsh a remedy.

  154. Jenesse Wannall

    Teri Donovan Springer – The small farms or urban homesteaders are MUCH MORE apt to take precautions AGAINST smell, nuisance and filth. These people raise these because they believe in HEALTHY, sustainable and kind treatment of animals.
    You don't realize that MOST homesteaders consider their chickens, goats and sheep to be as much of their families as their pet dogs and cats.
    It's people who are ignorant of FACTS, like you, who are the big problem. instead of actually fact checking and seeing the positive things that small farms and LOCAL, sustainable practices do for the community and our country at large, you listen to the Big Ag people who are only looking out for themselves and the economic impact that small farms are making on them.
    People are sick(literally and figuratively) of these giant conglomerates lying to us about their practices and treating animals(whether it be a chicken or a highly intelligent pig) in sickening and inhumane ways.
    We have a RIGHT to decide where our food comes from and Michigan is going in the opposite direction of the rest of the country.

  155. Jenesse Wannall

    Jason Hall – Sadly, it's people like Mr. Riley, in their ignorance who are making these decisions. They have been brainwashed by Big Ag to believe a bunch of malarkey about noise, smell, vermin; etc. when the exact opposite is true.
    Gotta love our education system, eh?

  156. Mary Ann Martorana

    This is extremely scary. I raise a lot of my own food as a community and backyard gardener. It really helps because I retired on social security and only get $15 in food stamps. I can't afford fresh produce otherwise.

  157. Jeff Brodhead

    Teri Donovan Springer
    So, who the heck is it that decided that the innocent people are guilty of the "crimes" of others?

    Progressivism SUCKS! Time for the People to end this continuous string of violations of our RIGHTS!

  158. Aluitious Mud

    Andy Lyke i think you missed his point. The issues is a reaction to homeowners irresponsibility at playing Farmer and raising livestock which can be a huge public safety hazard when not conformed to standard practices (aside from how hazardous and dangerous mass agricultural is) (And I would not put it past gov or corporations to "install" a few irresponsible home owner farmers to create the issue either). Time will tell, if larger community supplying farms of "organic" food start being forced to close then it's a problem. If it's only that Johnny Punchclock can't just start raising a few sheep or chickens while neglecting the risk of health issues to the neighborhood then it's a good thing.

  159. Aluitious Mud

    Jenesse Wannall -all this means is that other People can now shut down other People from growing their own food, NOT that the government is going to come in and close it down

  160. Aluitious Mud

    all this means is that other People can now shut down other People from growing their own food, NOT that the government is going to come in and close it down

  161. Donna LeRoy

    Jason Hall You know, sometimes, folks are typing via their phone and there will be errors. Did you know that Einstein was a horrible speller. You are silly

  162. Laurie Allen

    Bets way to get them to do that is to provide phone numbers and email addresses.

  163. Sheryle Davis

    Teri Donovan Springer Are you F-ing kidding me? I live in the "country". Across the street they graze cattle, donkeys, asses, and horses. Hay/corn fields surround me and cattle is raised two doors down. It's safe to say that this is zoned agricultural, but because I have 2 neighbors within 250 feet of my property, they want to tell me I can't raise chickens? This is NOT SUBURBIA! In fact you can keep city living all to yourself…I want nothing to do with it! Because of the zoning, I knew where I was moving. I put up with the extra flies, the smell of manure when the farmers spread it, and the pollen of living in the country among hay and corn.
    You apparently have no concept how a compost pile works. It does NOT "concentrate the smells". A properly maintained compost pile has NO smell, and NO bugs. I've been composting for ten years and all it produces is black gold.
    Sounds to me like you run a rather large operation and you want to protect YOUR rights while stomping over the rights of a small farmer who may or may not have better produce, eggs or chicken then you. It never ends…the #RWNJ who wants to protect their money earning potential while taking away the small farmers right to farm as well. Are you afraid our products will be superior to yours? (Which they probably will be and truly organic). Housework? Are you kidding me? A small farmer has much more incentive to keep their livestock clean and organic than a huge farmer who relies on antibiotics and cheap feed. And our food tastes better!
    Get over yourself.

  164. Jaime Gohsman

    Teri Donovan Springer-aSetfg Untrue. There are already regulations in place covering smell, unsightly and noise pollution. Many, if not most do not even use straw for bedding. If you are going to mouth off, Please at least try to become educated on what you are talking about.

  165. Jaime Gohsman

    Just thought you should know that Debbie Stabenow was the only legislator to show to to support us at the meeting, pointing out that the federal government supported small farming.

  166. Mary Vecchio

    This law in my opinion, is beneficial for the lively hood of bees, butterflies, birds ..Neighbors, everywhere there is a community, sprays insecticides , easily available at irresponsible landscape co's..While you may be a ecologically responsible homeowner, your neighbor is only interested in keeping at bay thei r insect enemies. Bad enough what they are putting in their lawns and gardens underground ; killing off all the beneficial insects in the process. We in communities who revere wildlife and care about their survival, feel desperate for the future of plants and animals . We are outnumbered by people who don't care because it is faster and easier and cheaper to spray chemicals without any thought to the welfare of all of everything that exists. How many mini farmer's are feeding their beloved egg producing animals healthy organic grains? The chickens are eating questionable detritus and grasses. Maybe I underestimate people. Hopefully so.

  167. Mary Vecchio

    For Dora's sake, the allergen test better come back negative. We are waiting with baited breath..and a lot more than Dora has to hold in.

  168. Arty Mist

    What a dreadful thing this is. Just like here where I can't give my excess eggs from my four chickens to my friends who run the local cafe. What a nonsense!

  169. Alastair Green

    Peter Zolla Are you an idiot or merely pretending to be one.

  170. Alan Shair

    Cindy Fulk , the government always claims to be broke but notice how they will find the money to purchase an array of high tech detection equipment and hire a cadre of special enforcement officers to go after people with small farms and vegetable gardens.

  171. Peter Brown

    This is all being done under the umbrella of the UN's Agenda 21,using the doctrine of Sustainable Development as a smoke screen to eliminate inherited and Constitutional rights .ie;' Big Brother knows best'.

  172. Alan Shair

    Peter Brown, what's the difference between inherited and Constitutional rights?

  173. Holly Dowden

    Make sure you all fight this. Strength in numbers and the support from other farmers will help make this right but do not sit on your hands and immediately give your birds up without that fight.

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