Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Suburban Farming Heats Up

Interested in playing chicken?

At my in-law's house in suburban Cleveland, a neighbor had some chickens.  It was not a big deal to them.  Apparently it is to some people.

Suburban farms are being scrutinized.  Not all neighbors are apparently as tolerant of the egg producers.  People who want to keep a couple of chickens or sheep or whatever in their backyard instead of a trampoline are getting tickets for creating a nuisance.

Arguments that the Michigan Right to Farm Act allows these activities are not completely true, at least according to the Agriculture Department.  In fact, their reading of the Right to Farm is that it only applies to commercial enterprises.  Selling a few eggs would get around that part, but they would still need to operate within the practices defined by the state, which may be dicier.

Although the Detroit News uses examples from Oakland County, there is no reason to think these kind of disputes could not happen Downriver.  This will become more and more of an issue as urban farming gains popularity in this area and spills over into the suburbs.  Readers are cautioned to think carefully before putting that henhouse out back.

Link:
http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140616/METRO08/306160004/Backyard-chickens-raising-squawk-Metro-Detroit

Michigan Right to Farm Act: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/mcl/pdf/mcl-Act-93-of-1981.pdf