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Right to Farm

Right to Farm
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Right to Farm

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Right to Farm Program

The Right to Farm (RTF) program within the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) responds to nuisance complaints involving farms and will assess a farm operation at a farmer's request. Program staff evaluate farm activities to decide whether a farm is following the Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMPs). Staff are also available to answer any questions or participate in outreach activities to help farmers, neighbors, and local government officials understand the RTF Act

Right to Farm Act Contact Information

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
Right to Farm Program
P.O. Box 30017
Lansing, MI 48909

Phone: 517-284-5619, 877-632-1783


RTF Staff Map


GAAMPs logo

What are GAAMPs?
GAAMPs are guidelines for farm management that help promote a positive image of Michigan agriculture. They were developed and adopted by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development because of the Michigan Right to Farm Act, P.A. 93, enacted in 1981. Farms who follow GAAMPs are afforded a certain level of protection if a nuisance complaint is filed against them.

Archived GAAMPs (2016-2021)

2022 GAAMPs Summary of Proposed Changes

Emergency Management of Raw Milk Guidance

2022 Right to Farm GAAMPs Review Annual Report

2020 Right to Farm Proactive Review Annual Report


GAAMPs Review Application

Complaint Form

2020 Right to Farm Complaint Response Annual Report 


Generally Accepted Processing Practices (GAPPs)
Generally Accepted Fruit, Vegetable, Dairy, Meat and Grain Processing Practices

Education and technical assistance to those individuals affected by the land application of biosolids.

Urban Agriculture
An overview of topics related to Urban Agriculture in Michigan.

Bodies of Dead Animals Act
For concerns about animal mortality, disposal, management, please refer to the Bodies of Dead Animal Act; which provides the framework and rules which govern the management of diseased livestock.

Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control
For any disturbances greater than 1 acres in size or within 500 feet of a lake or stream, please consult with your local SESC Construction Storm water staff for applicability and regulations.

Michigan Well Code
For additional information regarding the water wells, setbacks from contamination, ground water resources and construction.

MSU Pollinators
For additional information regarding the water wells, setbacks from contamination, ground water resources and construction.

Cottage Food Law
Additional information for Farm Markets in identifying licensing requirements and exemptions for the sale of food products.

Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule
Additional information on Produce safety - mandatory, regulation of farms that grow produce that is typically eaten raw and sells a minimum of $25,000 of sales in a year. Other exemptions may apply.
Resources for planning new farms.

Animals at Large Act
In Michigan, an owner cannot allow an animal (defined here as cattle, horses, sheep, swine, mules, burros, or goats) to run at large.

Ag Opinion #7302
2018 Attorney General's opinion regarding the preemption of local ordinances by the Michigan Right to Farm Act.

Technical Resources

Current GAAMPs

Care of Farm Animals

GAAMPs for the Care of Farm Animals were first adopted in 1995 and include 19 species of animals raised on Michigan farms. Animal care includes nutrition, manure management and sanitation, animal handling and restraint, transportation, facilities and equipment, health care and medical procedures, and recommendations for the environment. Domestication of livestock has made farm animals dependent on humans. Humans have responded to this dependence with a commitment to practice humane conduct toward domestic animals and to prevent avoidable suffering at all stages of their lives.

2022 Care of Farm Animals GAAMPs

Cranberry Production

Michigan has a favorable climate, proper soils, and the fruit processing capability to support a significant cranberry industry. Producers need to follow sound pesticide utilization/pest control, nutrient utilization, and other technical management practices in order to minimize the environmental risks associated with cranberry production. The cranberry plant is a wetland crop species. Therefore, construction of cranberry beds typically involves activities in wetlands. Because of this unique situation, both technical and regulatory practices were adopted for cranberry production in this set of GAAMPs.

2022 Cranberry Production GAAMPs

Farm Markets

Michigan has a diverse variety of farm fresh products. Many of these products can and are being directly marketed to the public locally. The Farm Market GAAMPs, first adopted in 2010, help define and provide guidance as to what constitutes an on-farm market and farm market activities.

2022 Farm Markets GAAMPs

Irrigation Water Use

GAAMPs for Irrigation Water Use are based on the core principle of stewardship. Stewardship in irrigation management includes conservation of water quantity, protection of water quality, and productivity of soil, plant quality, and crop yield. The GAAMPs do not establish legal criteria to resolve water use conflicts nor do they confer priority rights to water use.

2022 Irrigation Water Use GAAMPs

Manure Management / Utilization GAAMPs

GAAMPs for Manure Management and Utilization were first adopted in June 1988. Careful storage, handling, and land application of manure is needed to utilize nutrients, control odors, and protect water resources. These practices include recommendations for: Runoff Control, Odor Management, Manure Storage Facility Design, Manure Application to Land, Record Keeping, and Manure Management System Plans.

2022 Manure Management and Utilization GAAMPs

Nutrient Utilization

GAAMPs for Nutrient Utilization include guidance on environmentally sound land application of commercial fertilizers, manure, and other organic materials; such as food processing by-products, municipal wastes, and aquatic plant materials for crop production. Nutrient management practices include regular soil testing, manure nutrient analysis, and realistic crop yield goals. Areas covered by these practices include: On farm fertilizer storage/containment, Land application of fertilizer, Soil conservation and erosion control, Irrigation management, and Container grown (greenhouse) plants.

2022 Nutrient Utilization GAAMPs

On-farm Composting Registration Form

Pesticide Utilization-Pest Control

American agriculture has been able to meet consumer demands for a reliable and abundant food supply through the use of improved technology. For over 50 years, this technology has included the use of pesticides and other pest management techniques. GAAMPs for Pesticide Utilization and Pest Control were first adopted in 1991. They address worker safety, application procedures, transportation, storage, disposal of unused pesticides and containers, and record keeping.

2022 Pesticide Utilization and Pest Control GAAMPs

Site Selection GAAMPs

To establish a new livestock farm operation or expand an existing facility is a complex process. Water quality protection, odor control, existing land use and ownership constraints, and future land use or development patterns, are all considered in this process. Also included are facilitating feasibility and cost efficiency for the operator, maintaining esthetic character minimizing conflicts with adjacent land users, and complying with all applicable state and federal laws and local regulations. Through careful planning livestock farmers can increase productivity while developing or continuing good relationships with their surrounding community.

2022 Site Selection GAAMPs

Current MDARD Site Suitability Determinations 

Livestock Production Facility Siting Application
Please submit completed livestock siting applications or questions to

MI OFFSET 2018 Centroid Worksheet

MSU Enviroweather MI OFFSET Tool