Hunter Family to Keep Farm
For Immediate Release
October 27, 2014
The Hunter Family farm located in Antwerp Township is a very happy place to be today after confirmation from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) that practices at the farm are following the Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices (GAAMPS).
After a lengthy wait of more than a year and a half and two requests to MDARD for proactive determinations of Right to Farm protection, David Hunter and Kelly Vander Kley finally have the news they have been waiting for. The farm has also been Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) verified.
"This is a reassurance to us that we are living this lifestyle in a way that is as friendly to the environment as possible which was our intent all along," Vander Kley said.
"The MAEAP inspectors and technicians are a wealth of knowledge about soil, water and air qualities. They took the good practices we were already doing and offered suggestions that have made our farm management even better and more aligned with our goals. Some of their suggestions have even saved us money." Vander Kley said. "I highly encourage farms, both large and small, to go through the program. It is very beneficial."
At a more local level, Antwerp Township has taken a great deal of initiative to revamp their "Keeping of Animals" ordinances to make them more clear since the farm first came into question in early 2013.
Vander Kley says her family or a representative of the farm has been to every township planning commission meeting and township board meeting since May of 2013.
"I have seen firsthand the great deal of time and effort put into creating potential new ordinances that would guide this community in a positive manner. I am very appreciative of the thoughtfulness put into this project," she said.
Vander Kley is most of all thankful to the many people who have stopped over, called and reached out to the family in acts of support. "So many people came to shake my hand and offer advice it was amazing. From all of this, our family has gained many new friends that we will forever cherish."
"Our children will now be able to continue growing with strong work ethics and small business skills along with a knowledge of sustainable living that we hope one day they can use to help others," Vander Kley said.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!