State Ag Department Takes Applications for Preservation Grants

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Agricultural Preservation Fund Board announced a new grant opportunity for 24 of Michigan’s counties and townships – including Ingham, Eaton and Jackson counties – with qualified farmland preservation programs.

Funds may be used by local units of government to buy development rights from landowners who agree to place their farmland into a permanent conservation easement, according to a news release from the Agriculture Department. All grant applications require a minimum of a 25% funding match. The maximum amount paid from the Agricultural Preservation Fund toward the purchase price of the farmland development rights is $7,500 per acre.

Those interested in applying can view the application, eligibility criteria and scoring system at michigan.gov/mdard/0,4610,7-125-1572_2885-11788–,00.html. The grant application cycle for fiscal year 2020 will close at 4 p.m. Dec. 23. All applications must be submitted via email to MDARD-PDR@michigan.gov. Applications will be reviewed through a competitive process. If applicants do not receive a confirmation reply email within three days of submission, they should call (517) 284-5663 to confirm. Incomplete applications and applications received after the deadline will not be considered for a grant. Grant awards will be announced in spring 2020.

To qualify for an Agricultural Preservation Fund Board 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.

The Agricultural Preservation Fund Board 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.

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