The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and the Michigan Agricultural Preservation Fund Board (APFB) awarded $1.9 million in agricultural preservation fund grants to five local farmland preservation programs to close on permanent agricultural conservation easements.
The following local farmland preservation programs were awarded grants to preserve just under 1,000 acres:
Webster Township (Washtenaw County) – $224,764
Washtenaw County – $480,000
Grand Traverse County – $475,750
Ingham County – $285,600
Ottawa County – $433,886
MDARD received 13 applications from nine local farmland preservation programs requesting to preserve 2,260 acres, totaling approximately $4.5 million. All but one recipient, Washtenaw County, are first time grantees. The Fund will distribute $1.9 million. The grants cover up to 75 percent of the costs for purchasing the development rights on agricultural land. The Fund also helps cover some of the closing costs associated with the conservation easements.
“The Michigan Agricultural Preservation Fund Board understands the need for funding agricultural preservation programs in the community,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “These local communities have worked tirelessly to promote farmland preservation, incorporate it in their zoning, and develop the strategic plans needed to accomplish these goals.”
The APFB was established through legislation in 2000 to award grants to local agricultural conservation easement programs. Twenty-four qualified local farmland preservation programs were eligible to submit grants for funding. In order to qualify, a county or township must have zoning authority, covered under a master plan that includes farmland preservation, passed a Purchase of Development Rights Ordinance, and created a plan for monitoring conservation easements. To learn more about the board and fund visit www.michigan.gov/farmland.