Ottawa County, Mich., officials are educating would-be residents with the realities of rural living, including the smell of livestock manure.
The Ottawa County Planning Commission has created a new brochure designed to reduce nuisance complaints that new homeowners sometimes make against livestock producers. The pamphlet includes a scratch-and-sniff section that emits a genuine odor of manure.
The pamphlet explains that state law generally protects farmers from complaints about their operations, especially when spraying pesticides, spreading manure, transporting products and driving slow machines on two-lane roads.
``It's an attention grabber,'' says Mark Knudsen, director of the county's planning and grants department. ``The whole purpose is that people shouldn’t move into a rural area unless they're willing to accept and embrace the practices that happen on a farming operation.''
Ottawa is a major farm county, with hogs, dairy cows, beef cattle and poultry operations. Too many buyers with a taste for country life are moving in and complaining about noise, dust and odors, according to local farmers and county officials.