Image of children riding in the back of a tractor.

With commodity prices low and interest rates climbing, local farmers are looking for alternative ways to generate income on their farms. In response, local planning and zoning officials are seeking regulations that serve the public good and also support new income-generating activities on the farm. 

Officials, farmers, and interested residents are invited to join MSU Extension educators and community partners to learn how to successfully maneuver through local regulations and to hear about policy best practices related to three of the most popular "farm diversification" strategies in Michigan:

Agritourism, value-added processing, and alternative energy generation.

The program will address:

  • Why farms are looking to diversify their operations
  • The unique perspective of local township officials
  • The scope of farmer protection under the Right to Farm Act
  • Local ordinance language and recommendations
  • Taxes and other financial considerations
  • Insurance recommendations
  • Examples from the field
  • Facilitated discussion

The day-long program will run from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. and be held in the following locations:

Chatham: Monday, March 18
Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center
E3774 University Dr., Chatham, MI 49816

Traverse City: Tuesday, March 19
Traverse City Michigan Works 
1209 S Garfield Ave Suite C, Traverse City, MI 49686

Ann Arbor: Thursday, March 21
Washtenaw County MSU Extension Classroom
705 N Zeeb Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Grand Rapids: March 26
Kent County MSU Extension Office
775 Ball Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

The cost to attend the program is $20 and includes materials and lunch.

The program is sponsored by Michigan Farm Bureau.

Hope to see you there!

Download Event Flyer


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For more information contact Jae Gerhart at