Right To Farm: Site Selection for New and Expanding Livestock Farms

The Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices for Site Selection and Odor Control for New and Expanding Livestock Production Facilities (Site Selection GAAMP) was first adopted in June 2000. The development of this GAAMP and the preemption of local ordinances that extend or conflict with GAAMPs were the two major changes made when the Michigan Right to Farm Act (PA 93 of 1981, as amended) was amended in 1999.

As reported recently in a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Program Description, a total of 335 farms investing over $330 million since June 2000 have utilized the Site Selection GAAMP in selecting the best site to construct a new facility or expand their existing facility. The GAAMP for site selection and odor control for new and expanding livestock production facilities is intended to fulfill three primary objectives:

  1. Environmental Protection
  2. Social Considerations (neighbor relations)
  3. Economic Viability

When all three of these objectives are met, the ability of a farm operation to achieve agricultural sustainability is greatly increased.

The verification process begins with a livestock producer submitting a Verification Request to the MDARD. The Request consists of:

  • Detailed site plan
  • Manure Management System Plan
  • Construction drawings and specifications
  • The results of the subsurface investigation
  • An Odor Management Plan that includes the results of the Michigan OFFSET Model for the proposed facility. On a case-by-case basis, MDARD may reduce setbacks if verified by the Odor Management Plan

The OFFSET model helps producers determine the very best location for the facility in order to minimize odors. It also allows producers to see the beneficial effects of various methods of odor mitigation technology such as bio-filters on exhaust fans or manure crusting.

In addition, all new manure storage structures need to be constructed using USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or Mid-West Plan Service (MWPS) construction standards including a subsurface investigation of soil types. This subsurface investigation must first be made where liquid in-ground manure structures are to be built. A professional engineer must approve and stamp the drawings. A professional engineer must be present during construction of the manure storage structure to insure construction standards are being met. This will help ensure the integrity of the manure storage structure. MDARD will require professional engineer stamped As-built construction drawings and specifications once the project is completed.

MDARD will conduct a pre-construction inspection and review the Verification Request with the producer to determine if all of the requirements are met. A pre-population inspection will be scheduled once the facility has been or will be fully constructed.

In short, the Site Selection GAAMP has helped ensure high standards of environmental and social standards so that the Michigan livestock industry can continue to grow.

To learn more about Site Selection GAAMP, go to: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mda/2011_DRAFT_SITE_SELECTION_GAAMPs_339407_7.pdf

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