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Application Selection Criteria

These are the criteria that are being used to judge each application and help rank the different applicants. The selection criteria can be broken down into two big categories, each containing many sub categories. The first category delegates points based on the property whereas the second category delegates points based on the local PDR program. Local programs are selected based on the scoring system adopted by the board that focuses on quality agricultural parcels and program achievements.
Property Related Points
    1. Agricultural Capacity and Productivity
        Policy objective:
        To preserve the land that holds Michigan’s prime and unique agricultural soils.
        Points will be awarded on the following basis:
        Multiply the percent of land area in the application that is classified as prime and unique or locally significant agricultural land, as                  defined by the USDA-NRCS, times 150.
        Total Points Available: 150

2. Conservation Plan or Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan
         Policy objective:
         The public investment in farmland preservation should not only require legal preservation of the farmland, but also                                       functional preservation of the resources. The completion of a conservation plan for the property is an indication that the landowner               has made a commitment to preserve those resources.
         Points will be awarded on the following basis:
         Multiply the percent of land in the grant application that will be subject to a conservation plan (approved by NRCS) or a                                 comprehensive nutrient management plan (written by a certified plan writer) times 50.
         Note: A conservation plan may be in process at the time of application, but it must be completed and approved prior to closing.                     Conservation plans will not be awarded points if older than 3 years.
         Total Points Available: 50

3. Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program Participation (MAEAP)
         Policy objective:
         The Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) assists farms in establishing environmentally sound                         agricultural practices. Farms that are certified under the MAEAP program should receive preferential treatment because                               environmentally sound agricultural practices will contribute to the sustainability of the agricultural operation.
         Points will be awarded on the following basis:
         50 points will be awarded if the farm in the grant application are verified through MAEAP. If the farm has participated in MAEAP                   Phase 1 training and has a risk assessment but is not MAEAP verified, a maximum of 25 points will be awarded.
         Total Points Available: 50

4. Amount of Agricultural Land in the Landowner’s Application
         Policy Objective:
         To encourage large agricultural tracts of land to be preserved.
         Points will be awarded on the following basis:
         The number of acres of agricultural land in an application by a landowner divided by the number of total acres applied for in the                   application by the landowner, times 50.
         Total Available Points: 50

5. Property Location
         Policy Objective:
         To encourage blocks of agricultural land be preserved so that existing agricultural support infrastructure remains viable and in the               local community.
         Points will be awarded on the following basis:
         The total acres of qualified agricultural land (active farmland) in the local PDR program area divided by the total acres of land in the             local PDR program, times 100.
         Note: Qualified agricultural land may also be designated as Personal Residence Exemption (PRE) when the farm residence is                     located on the farmland. This land is also considered as active farmland.
         Total Point Available: 100

Local PDR Program Related Points
    1. Local Farmland Preservation Commitment
         Policy Objective:
         To encourage local commitment in farmland preservation as evidenced by the type and degree of financial participation at the local          level as well as the designation of local priorities.
         Points will be awarded on the following basis:
         • Up to 75 points will be awarded if a community has a dedicated funding source for farmland preservation (millage, user fees, local          tax).
         • Up to 25 points if a map is submitted that includes areas for farmland preservation that are prioritized. Points will be awarded based          on the level of detail of the map (maps that include parcel level priorities will score higher).
         Total Available Points: 100

2. Matching Funds
         Policy Objective:
         To encourage local programs to seek and utilize any funding resources available in order to leverage all funding sources more                     efficiently and effectively. The minimum required match is 25% per property. Matching funds can include funds from a local unit of               government, federal grants, donations by the landowner of the proposed property and any other sources. A letter of commitment will           be required from the source of the match with the application.
         Points will be awarded on the following basis:
         For match over the 25% minimum, the amount of points awarded will equal the percentage of match amount over 25%, times 200.               (i.e., A program has 50% match, that means the match over 25% is 25%, therefore 25% times 200 = 50 points out of 100 possible               points.)
         Total points available: 100

3. Intergovernmental Cooperation
         Policy Objective:
         To empower local units of government to work together in the land use area in creative or innovative ways that preserve farmland in             the greater community.
         Points will be awarded on the following basis:
         Points will be awarded based on the demonstration of intergovernmental cooperation. Demonstration may be shown by submission             of one or more of the following:
              • Joint planning agreements under the Joint Municipal Planning Act.
              • Intergovernmental agreements related to farmland preservation between more than one legal jurisdiction.
              • Transfer of Development Rights programs that are between more than one legal jurisdiction.
              • Cooperative efforts between contiguous townships to coordinate land use decisions.
              • Reports or products from projects in which the units of government have cooperated together.
              • Examples of other efforts that might qualify as intergovernmental cooperation in the land use area.
         In general, it is intended that the maximum points under this category be awarded for local governments that have entered into                   intergovernmental agreements under the Urban Cooperation Act of 1967. The purpose of the Agreement being to coordinate the                 preservation of farmland within the communities. Less than the total points will be awarded for other cooperative efforts between                 local programs such as general land use, agriculture or funding for farmland preservation.
       Total Points Available: 50

4. Local Planning Training
         Policy Objective:
         Local decision makers should have training in and a general understanding of conservation easement content, restrictions and                     enforcement, negotiation techniques, land appraisals, federal charitable benefits for donations, local tax implications, 1031 like kind             exchanges, post mortem election under Federal tax law, capital gains questions associated with conservation easements.
         Points will be awarded on the following basis:
         The percent of the members of the local governing body associated with operating the local PDR program that has received                         conservation easements training in the past 4 years, times 50.
         Total Points Available: 50

5. Local Capacity to Execute
         Policy Objective:
         Local PDR programs must be appropriately staffed to be successful. Local programs that have allocated appropriate support for staff           (or partnerships in place) and have acquired and monitor conservation easements have the best chance for success.
         Points will be awarded on the following basis:
         Points based on the capacity to complete, hold and monitor easements. Examples of points awarded include:
         • The applicant already holds conservation easements.
         • There is available staff, consultants or partnerships (such as land conservancies) to execute and maintain the program.
         • Application has never had bad performance on past MDARD grants.
         Total Available Points: 150

6. Local Agricultural Planning
         Policy Objective:
         To encourage local units of government to utilize a variety of tools through the planning and zoning process to preserve farmland in          their community.
         Points will be awarded based on the tools the local unit of government has adopted to preserve farmland:
         • Township comprehensive land use plans that are compatible with county or regional comprehensive land use plans.
         • Communities participating in Joint Municipal Planning under the Joint Municipal Planning Act.
         • Zoning ordinances that are consistent with the comprehensive land use plan and effectively preserves agriculture.
         • Adoption of a Non-Contiguous Planned Unit Development Ordinance.
         • Sliding Scale zoning allowed in agricultural areas.
         • Density based zoning.
         • Increased residential densities in areas served with public utilities, such as a minimum of 4 units per acre in single family areas and          10 units per acre per acre in single family areas and 10 units per acre in multiple family areas.
         • Other unique or unusual techniques for preserving farmland.
         Total Available Points: 50

7. Agricultural Economic Development Plan
         Policy Objective:
         To maintain the economic viability of farmland and agriculture.
         Points will be awarded on the following basis:
         Points will be awarded if an economic development plan is developed regionally or locally to address agricultural viability. The plan             in its entirety must be submitted with the application.
         Total Available Points: 100

All of this can be summed up in the scoring table below.
Selection Criteria Points Available
Agricultural Capacity and Productivity /150
Conservation Plan or Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan /50
Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program Participation (MAEAP) /50
Amount of Agricultural Land in Landowner’s Application /50
Property Location /100
Local Farmland Preservation Commitment /100
Matching Funds /100
Intergovernmental Cooperation /50
Local Planning Training /50
Local Capacity to Execute /150
Local Agricultural Planning /50
Agricultural Economic Development Plan /100
Total Points Received/Total Points Possible /1000

This is all summed up within this document here:
Policies and Procedures, Application Process & Scoring System