MARQUETTE - A Gwinn farm has been granted the right to continue operations despite a Forsyth Township zoning ordinance prohibiting farming activity, according to a ruling issued today by Marquette County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Solka.
Randy and Libby Buchler, owners of Shady Grove Farm, U.P. LLC, were sued by Forsyth Township because their farm is located on Johnson Lake in an area the township has zoned as Lake Residential. That zoning designation does not allow for any type of farming activity.
The Buchlers' farm is home to eight sheep and roughly 100 chickens.
"I'm feeling like justice has been served," Randy Buchler said of Solka's decision. "Judge Solka, I believe, took all of the facts and made the right decision and we're just super happy that we get to continue farming for our family and our community."
The Buchlers contended throughout the two-day November trial that their farm was protected by the Michigan Right to Farm Act.
The township argued the Buchlers' farm was not in compliance with a set of rules outlined by the act, called "Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices." Any farm looking for protection by the Right to Farm Act must follow the GAAMPs that pertain to its specific operation.
For more on this story, please see Thursday's print edition of The Mining Journal.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.