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MDARD, MI Agricultural Preservation Fund Board Award $2 million to Local Farmland Preservation Programs

Ottawa, Kent, Macomb, Eaton, Barry, Berrien counties and Webster Township received grants

LANSING, MI — Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell and the Michigan Agricultural Preservation Fund Board (APFB) have awarded $2 million in agricultural preservation fund grants to seven local farmland preservation programs. These funds will assist local farmers with up to 75 percent of the costs related to development rights on agricultural land, in addition to, helping to pay some closing costs associated with conservation easements.

Twenty-four local programs were eligible to submit funding grants. Farm preservation ensures communities have locally sourced fresh food and farming jobs.

"Michigan is home to nearly 10 million acres of farmland, and that land is the foundation of our food production and supply. We must continue to ensure the long-term sustainability of those acres," said Director McDowell. "These grants allow for us to invest in Michigan's growing agricultural industry while protecting farmland for future generations. These funds set up the next generation of farmers for success."

The following local farmland preservation programs received grants preserving 1,144 acres:

  • Ottawa County - $168,750
  • Webster Township (Washtenaw County) - $375,000
  • Kent County - $220,000
  • Macomb County - $342,000
  • Eaton County - $88,530
  • Barry County - $657,750
  • Berrien County - $147,970

The APFB consists of seven members including the MDARD Director and the director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. It was established through legislation in 2000 to award grants to local agricultural conservation easement programs.

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. Local programs are selected based on the scoring system adopted by the board, that focuses on quality agricultural parcels and program achievements.

To learn more about the board and fund visit Michigan.gov/Farmland.