Urban/suburban agriculture is a hot topic in Michigan. Last year, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development created an Urban Livestock Workgroup. When the group was announced, Sen. Joe Hune stated that “The charge of the work group will be to help identify best practices and provide a framework for urban agriculture in Michigan.”

The group’s diverse members include representatives of municipalities, associations, as well as farmers. On March 15, 2015, the group issued its Recommendations Report. The group recommends the development of an Urban Agriculture Act that would give authority to the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development to set guidelines for urban/suburban agriculture but would provide for local zoning authority over agriculture in urban/suburban areas. The group’s recommendations were not unanimous. Expect more discussion from policymakers on “backyard chickens” in the future.

To read the Urban Livestock Workgroup’s Recommendations Report, visit: http://1.usa.gov/1P3Ixxd3

To read Sen. Joe Hune’s 2014 announcement of the group’s formation, visit: http://bit.ly/1Kr2oWk