Proposed Privacy Fences Around Michigan Apiaries
The Michigan Department of Agriculture is considering a change to Michigan's Generally Accepted Agricultural Practices ("GAAMPs") that would compel beehive owners to "block" their apiaries from neighboring properties. According to the proposed rule, property owners would be required to erect a 6-foot-high solid fence or hedge around all hives located less than 200 feet from the property line. Such a fence or hedge would serve to direct the bees away from neighboring properties.
The Michigan Small Farm Council is resisting the proposed rule as imposing too great a burden on apiary owners. Because the rule requires that the hives be completely blocked from any neighboring property's line of sight, implementation could require a very long fence/hedge in a rural area, or complete enclosure in a residential area.
Any changes to the GAAMPs can prove significant, as compliance is necessary to ensure protection from nuisance lawsuits for farming practices under Michigan's Right to Farm Act. The public input meeting on proposed changes was December 12.