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Proposed Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) Rules Narrow “Right to Farm” Protection

Proposed rule changes in the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) have excluded some farmers from MAEAP verification and protection.

Under the proposed MAEAP changes, any livestock farm in primarily residential zoning is ineligible for MAEAP verification. According to the new rules, animal ownership is automatically considered a "significant hazard" for primarily residential zoning.

Historically, farmers in suburban and urban areas have used MAEAP verification to demonstrate that their farms are in compliance with state and federal farming regulations. This provides protection from nuisance lawsuits by neighbors who object to living next door to farm animals.

Excluding farmers located in a primarily residential area from MAEAP verification may leave certain farmers vulnerable to lawsuits and local enforcement action. 

© 2020 Varnum LLPNational Law Review, Volume IV, Number 272


About this Author

Aaron M. Phelps, Varnum, litigation attorney

For over 15 years, Aaron's practice has been focused on complex commercial and environmental litigation - in Michigan and around the country. Aaron has represented clients in contract and corporate governance disputes, telecommunications and energy matters, health care litigation, and tort actions.

Over the last five years, Aaron has represented over 200 companies in lawsuits against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for ERISA violations. The first trial resulted in a $6 million judgment, and subsequent judgments ranged from $315,000 to over $8 million. Currently...