Twenty-four of Michigan’s counties and townships with qualified farmland preservation programs can apply for funding through a new grant opportunity offered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Agricultural Preservation Fund Board.
Awarded 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 minimum 25% fund 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 the MDARD website, michigan.gov/mdard.
The grant application cycle for fiscal 2020 closes 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 you do not receive a confirmation email within three days of submission, 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 the spring.
In order 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 APFB grants should call Elizabeth Brost at 517-243-7949.
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.