The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and the Agricultural Preservation Fund Board (APFB) have announced a grant opportunity for 24 of Michigan’s counties and townships with qualified farmland preservation programs.
Funds may be used by the local unit of government to purchase development rights from landowners who agree to place their farmland into a permanent conservation easement. All grant applications require a 25 percent fund match minimum. The maximum amount paid from the Agricultural Preservation Fund toward the purchase price of the farmland development rights is $7,500 per acre.
According to Matt Kapp, government relations specialist with Michigan Farm Bureau, member-created, grass roots policy supports farmland preservation to stabilize land base, maintain the agricultural industry's competitive position, and increase its economic value to producers and the state.
“Farmers across Michigan, growing the second-highest number of commodities after California, are under the pressure of urban sprawl and development in areas all around the state,” Kapp said. “A strong farmland preservation program developed at the local level and supported by state funds like these grants from MDARD help those farmers to resist that pressure. Farmland preservation maintains not only Michigan’s agricultural legacy, but its vital local production of food, fiber and fuel. These grants show the priority Michigan places on preserving farmland for farmers and for the future.”
Applications from qualified farmland preservation programs must be submitted via email to [email protected] by 4:00 p.m. (EST), Monday, December 28, 2020. If you do not receive a confirmation reply email within three days of submission, please call 517-284-5663 to confirm receipt. Grant awards will be announced by March 2021.
To qualify for an Agricultural Preservation Fund grant, a county or township must have zoning authority and be covered under a master plan that includes farmland preservation. Counties and townships interested in becoming qualified for future Agricultural Preservation Fund Board grants should contact Elizabeth Brost at 517-243-7949.
Qualified county and township programs interested in applying should visit Michigan.gov/farmland to view the application, eligibility criteria, and the scoring system.
The APFB is a seven-member, governor-appointed board that oversees the fund and was established to develop grant selection criteria and award grants to local units of government for the purchase of development rights on farmland.