Ann Arbor Area Community News
The City Council will hold a public hearing and second reading on Monday, 17 October, to ease the restrictions placed on land in the Greenbelt program. The change would remove the exclusion of factory feeding operations (officially: Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs), and is motivated by the conditions of Federal and State agricultural land preservation grants: $1,448,042 in grant money is at stake.
Doug Cowherd, co-chairman of the Sierra Club-Huron Valley Group, said CAFOs aren’t in the Washtenaw County area now because land is cheaper in other parts of the state, such as Hillsdale and Lenawee counties. By removing development rights from the land, the greenbelt program will create cheap property that can only be used for agricultural purposes.
The News cites a spokesman for the Michigan Farm Bureau as calling the environmental argument overblown and pointing to regulations on animal waste management; the memo provided as background to the ordinance change also discusses waste regulation.
No CAFOs, a citizens’ group out of Hudson, MI, shows exactly how well these regulations work, recording 129 violations by 10 local CAFOs in the past five years into the River Raisin watershed, which would seem like undesirable behavior to allow in land acquired as part of a program intended to “preserve and protect the City’s sourcewaters as an integral part of maintaining a quality water supply and the public health and safety of the Ann Arbor community.”
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