And, instead of letting the jewel of a resource he shared be hidden in the comments, I think it's worthy to bring it out here in the sunshine for all to enjoy.
Take a look at http://thomasonfamilyfarmSo, I naturally followed the links and am truly impressed with how Peter's been able to leverage the existing Michigan Right to Farm Act to keep his urban chickens on his "micro eco-farm." Here's how he's worked the system:
.blogspot.comto see what's really happening in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area with urban chic. Judy M actually left quite a bit out of her report. My other blog http://notmyplans.blogspot.com has a response to her article.
The Michigan Right to Farm Act of 1981 is little known among city dwellers because it doesn’t impact us much. That is, unless you happen to live on the outskirts of a town that has been developed through the acquisition of nearby farms. Where farms are still operational and close enough to subdivisions to be smelled or heard, those agricultural activities are protected, and rightly so because we need them, as long as they follow GAAMPS – an acronym for Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices. We need local farms, especially small family owned farms, for a whole variety of reasons which cannot just be described in economic terms.Be sure to read Peter's rebuttal to Judy's article on his other blog. I'm happy to add his farm in the Urban Chicken blog roll to the right.
Using the law to support having chickens in our backyard did not occur to me until I was being interviewed by Michigan Radio several months later and the interviewer suggested I look into the case of a suburban Michigan woman who had successfully used it in defense of her flock of goats. It is a surprisingly strong law, and, to my knowledge, all attempts to modify it have fallen flat. Two recent Michigan Court of Appeals rulings - one involved a riding stable and the other a nursery - have upheld it to the extent that it trumps even local zoning requirements and ordinances. The catch for backyard chicken keepers – or urban micro farmers like us - is that the law appears to be designed to protect those engaged in agricultural activities for commercial purposes. We don’t have a problem with that because, as produce growers – we sell to a local food cooperative – we fit the IRS and the USDA description of farmers. We file a Schedule F with our Federal 1040 and we also follow GAAMPS. I can imagine that the protections would be extended to subsistence farmers as well.