(MICHIGAN LIVE) The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development voted in a special session April 28 to adopt changes that make all farm livestock operations, no matter how small, subject to the rules–and creates a category of land where no animals will be in compliance.

As reactions begin, a Sierra Club representative said the vote is a blow to small farmers by stripping them of state protection afforded other farmers; Michigan Farm Bureau said it strengthens protection of all farmers by trying to reduce land use conflicts.

The Right to Farm Act was created in 1981 to protect commercial farm at a time when city people were moving into rural areas and then complaining about conditions typical to farming, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The law protects the farmer from nuisance lawsuits as long as the operation is conforming to Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices laid out by the state.

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