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MDARD, MI Agricultural Preservation Fund Board Awards $1.1 Million to Local Farmland Preservation Programs

Ottawa, Kent, Barry, and Berrien counties received grants

LANSING—Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Acting Director Kathy Angerer and the Michigan Agricultural Preservation Fund Board awarded $1.1 million in agricultural preservation fund grants to four local farmland preservation programs to purchase and maintain permanent agricultural conservation easements.

Twenty-four local farmland preservation programs were eligible to submit applications for grant funding. The grants help local farmland preservation programs purchase development rights to preserve the land for agricultural use. Preserving farmland ensures communities have a locally sustainable source of fresh food and helps keep jobs in the agriculture community.

“Our goal is to build a legacy of sustainable farming and farmland for generations of Michiganders and Michigan grown products,” said Angerer. “These grants help local communities work together with farmers to preserve open space, protect wildlife habitat and food sources, and promote conservation for our future.”

The following local farmland preservation programs received grants preserving 492 acres:

Ottawa County - $267,899
Kent County - $152,000
Berrien County - $120,000
Barry County - $604,800


The fund distributes grants covering up to 75 percent of the costs for purchasing the development rights on agricultural land. Landowner’s can donate a portion of the developmental rights value towards the required 25 percent local match of the conservation easement purchase price. The fund also helps pay for some of the closing costs associated with the conservation easements.

The Agricultural Preservation Fund Board consists of seven members including the MDARD director (or his/her designee) and the director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (or his/her designee). The board was established through legislation enacted in 2000 to award grants to local agricultural conservation easement programs.

To qualify, a county or township must have zoning authority and an approved master plan that includes farmland preservation. They are also required to have adopted 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 the quality of agricultural parcels and conservation program achievements. 

To learn more about the board and preservation fund visit the website at


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