Michigan Right to Farm Act Attorney

OLC's Farm Law Practice

Even the smallest farms are major business operations

The Michigan Right to Farm Act [RTFA] is a Michigan law designed to protect farmers and commodity producers, particularly small, family-scale farmers, from being legal harassed by local zoning ordinances, nuisance lawsuits, and other legal measures designed to halt or impair farm operations. While the policy is simple, the application of the law is not. As the Michigan Court of Appeals recently noted:
    The trial court concluded that, pursuant to the RTFA, "[a]ny action taken by a local unit of government which impairs a farm or farm operation is improper." This conclusion was an overly broad and incorrect statement of the RTFA.
    - Sena Scholma Trust v Ottawa Cty Rd Comm'n
MCL 286.473(1) provides:
    A farm or farm operation shall not be found to be a public or private nuisance if the farm or farm operation alleged to be a nuisance conforms to generally accepted agricultural and management practices ["GAAMPs"] according to policy determined by the Michigan commission of agriculture.

Contrary to its name, however, the Right to Farm Act merely provides an affirmative defense to nuisance lawsuits and does not give the landowner an entitlement or a “right” to conduct farming on any or all property. It simply provides a defense against nuisance lawsuits in rural areas and does not stop someone from filing a lawsuit against farm operations.

Nevertheless, the RTFA has been successfully used to protect everything from raising backyard chickens to major cattle operations, if pursued correctly.

If you have been sued or threatened to be sued by a local municipality or by a neighbor regarding your farm operations, or need assistence with the Right to Farm Act and its related regulations, contact a property rights attorney at OLC by using the form below.

The initial case consultation fee for new clients is waived.


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PO Box 107
Hemlock, MI 48626
(989) 642-0055
(888) 398-7003 - fax

Licensed to practice before all Michigan State Courts, the Michigan Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court, the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Court, the US District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.