Introduction to Michigan Site Selection and Odor Control GAAMPs for new or expanding livestock facilities

Why MDARD Site Selection GAAMPs are critical for the future of your family farm business.

Beef cattle feedlot building expansion
Beef cattle feedlot building expansion. Photo credit: Kevin Gould

What are GAAMPS?

The Site Selection GAAMPs are an opportunity to cushion your investment from nuisance lawsuits. These generally accepted practices supersede local zoning. In most cases, they provide guidance for identifying suitable locations which can help mitigate nuisance lawsuits and provide critical protection for your farming operation. Michigan State University Extension has more information about GAAMPs here.

How and why, were GAAMPS developed?

The Site Selection GAAMPs were written to help promote a positive image of agricultural by providing consistent statewide criteria for locating livestock facilities. Prior to the Site Selection GAAMPs, local units of government could enact ordinances restricting the size of facilities or more stringent setback requirements. Site Selection GAAMPs level the playing field across the state and provide statewide standards for constructing new or expanding an existing livestock or poultry facility.

Recent Changes

The Site Selection GAAMPs are reviewed and updated annually. Those who officially went through the process of getting a determination of their facilities and who have not expanded since then, should feel confident about the site of their livestock facilities. However, if your farm has expanded by adding animals or building a manure storage structure, it is recommended that you request a new determination.

Because it can be challenging to know if you meet the current GAAMPs, the MAEAP partnership has developed a new tool for you to work through with your local technician. We encourage all livestock producers to take advantage of the new MAEAP site selection screening tool and help us protect the positive image of animal agriculture.

Proactive vs Reactive

The time to find out if you have Right to Farm (RTF) protection is not when you receive notice of a pending lawsuit. We need to be proactive in creating positive images of our farms. The time to conduct a site selection screening or proactive GAAMPs review is before an expansion occurs. Due to the labor and cost of building a facility, not conforming to the GAAMPs may be a costly mistake. Thinking ahead and conforming to GAAMPs while we are planning our facilities, affords us flexibility while maintaining protections afforded under the Michigan Right to Farm Act.

Why it is important for a farm of any size to go through the site selection verification process

It really does not matter how big or how small your facility is, Site Selection GAAMPs apply to all farms with livestock. That is probably obvious when we think about larger facilities, but smaller farms can have neighboring challenges as well. Knowing your farm is in compliance allows for positive dialogue with neighbors and customers and may allow your farm to access environmental programs that benefit all for generations to come.

What steps need to be taken to have your farm screened with the new siting tool?

Contact your MAEAP technician, or consultant and get to work on the MAEAP Site Selection Screening tool. You have nothing to lose, there is no downside, no penalties, and like everything in MAEAP, it is completely confidential.

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