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MDARD, MI Agricultural Preservation Fund Board Awards $2 Million to Local Farmland Preservation Programs

LANSING, Mich. Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Tim Boring and the Michigan Agricultural Preservation Fund Board (APFB) awarded $2 million in agricultural preservation fund grants to eight local farmland preservation programs to purchase development rights to preserve local land for agricultural use. Preserving farmland ensures communities have locally sustainable sources of fresh food and keeps local jobs in the agriculture community.

"Farmland preservation is not just about protecting local lands. It's about protecting and nurturing our roots while creating a system that ensures sustenance for generations to come,"  said Director Boring. "Michiganders continue to express they care about how and where their food is grown and preserving farmlands across our state allows for fresh food to be grown, processed and sold within local communities. Governor Whitmer s proposed budget includes $4 million for a Farm to Family program to help build the value of products grown here in Michigan and keep products local."

"I am excited that several projects in my district have been awarded these grants. It is crucial that Michigan leads in the agricultural space and fosters the use of local products which benefit both our farmers and those who live in the areas around which those farms reside. I look forward to seeing how projects throughout the state will help our communities blossom and thrive,"  said state Representative Jennifer Conlin (D-Dexter Township).

The following farmland programs received grants preserving 670 acres of farmland:

  • Ann Arbor Township - $200,000
  • Dexter Township - $200,000
  • Kent County - $120,800
  • Ottawa County - $205,971
  • Scio Township - $200,000
  • Peninsula Township - $675,000
  • Washtenaw County - $238,000
  • Webster Township - $160,229

The fund distributes grants covering up to 75 percent of the costs for purchasing the development rights on agricultural land. The grant funds may be used to purchase permanent agricultural conservation easements to preserve farmland.

To qualify for funding, a county or township must have obtained 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, which focuses on quality agricultural parcels and program achievements.  

The APFB consists of seven members including the MDARD Director and the Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (or his/her designee). Awarding grants to local agricultural conservation easement programs was established through legislation in 2000.

To learn more about the board and fund, visit


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