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.
If you're in Michigan, you might want to see this film before you vote if possible. Because the entire story of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' full fledged war on food and farm freedom is one that touches everyone's right to unadulterated foods and the right to have a small family farm free from threats of armed raids, imprisonment and excessive fines.
Mark Baker of Baker's Green Acres always said “No!” when it came to state orders to eradicate his 70 heritage hogs. They weren't from CAFOs and were declared an invasive species even though they were on his farm. The state dragged him through years of court, threatened prison and imposed $700,000 in fines for harboring “ferals.”
He also went through a painful embargo period – an attempt to dry up his farm and put him out of business. Over 2,000 businesses were affected by the …
Hogwash encapsulates the experience of one citizen who stood up to the Powers That Think They Be. This isn’t party politics, as this situation started in a Democrat administration and was continued in a Republican administration. This is about right and wrong. People vs. political machine.
The filmmaker has released his documentary for Election Day. It is posted for free indefinitely so that you have a chance to see the forces at work that led up to the situation. It is a true testament of standing for what's right and perseverance.
Are you interested in having a copy of your own or hosting a community screening? For a donation of $25 at Baker's Green Acres you can have one sent your way. Be sure to check in on them for updates on their farm. If you are in the area, they teach farming classes.
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). MDARD has a program under which Michigan farmers can be verified as following the Michigan Accepted Practices; it’s called the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). The Buchlers of Shady Grove Farm became MAEAP-verified, which ultimately helped them win the case filed against their farm.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. Those interested in pushing for or amending Right to Farm legislation in their states can contact the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to defend the rights of farmers. The Defense Fund is also a good resource for small farms seeking help with other legal challenges.
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