Michigan Right to Farm Act: Definition & Overview

Instructor: Tara Schofield
The rights of citizens to grow crops for a profit in an agriculturally zoned area in Michigan is protected by the law. Learn how the law applies to farms, residential areas, and disputes in this lesson.

What is the Michigan Right to Farm Act?

Your brother, Sam, has recently purchased a home on two acres of land and moved out to the country where many farms exist. He expected peace and quiet when he left the city. Sam was surprised to find that the farmer started loud farm equipment early in the morning, overtook the one road in and out of the farm when he relocated his cattle a few times a week, and had large semi trucks driving down the dirt road to the farm several times a week.

The Michigan Right to Farm Act was created just for this purpose, to resolve problems and disputes between farms and neighboring residents who feel the actions on the farm constitute an actionable nuisance. It also oversees the actions of farmers who earn a living from their crops.

Sam decides to complain about the farmer's actions under this act. The program staff members reviewed his complaints to see if the farmer's activities are outside of the generally accepted practices for farmers.

Application to Real Estate Sales

Farmers have a right to work their land and take reasonable actions to run their farms. Residents also have rights, although the residents cannot expect normal farming activities to be stopped when the property is zoned for agricultural use.

Coincidentally, the home and lot next to your brother Sam's home has just been listed. You are a real estate agent and your clients have been looking for a home out of town. You show them the property near your brother's home. While you do not have a responsibility to explain farm life to your clients, it is a good idea to understand their awareness of agricultural practices and ensure they understand what farmers' rights are in running their business.

Additionally, you can direct them to the Michigan government site to understand residents' rights in agricultural areas. There are disclosures that must be included in the closing documents to verify that your client is aware of the agricultural rights in the area.

If your client chooses to farm on their property, their actions may be protected under the Michigan Right to Farm Act, assuming they are farming for a profit and have completed the appropriate documents needed in Michigan.

Most townships do not regulate small personal-use gardens, allowing people to grow their own food. However, if a resident plans to grow crops for a profit or plant larger crops, his or her activities may be controlled by the local governmental agencies.

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