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Monday, September 25, 2006

Farmland vs suburban sprawl by The Environment Report

Development of agricultural areas in Michigan remains controversial, for both farmers and area residents. GLRC's Lester Graham reports:
(s)ome counties that want to preserve the rural character of their area are putting together a program that helps farmers by paying them some of that difference between farmland value and development value. It's called the purchase of development rights.
He concludes:
Scott Everette with American Farmland Trust says successful purchase of development rights start out slowly, but gain popularity after everyone sees how it works:

"It's one of these programs where once one farmer does it, the other farmers next door and the neighboring farmers really start taking a look at it and saying to themselves 'You know, if they're going to make the commitment, I will, too.'"
As reported in the Planning Commission Journal:
Until 1994, when Peninsula Township north of Traverse City, Michigan established the Midwest's first local program, the idea of buying and selling such rights, and drawing up conservation easements, was considered a wacky idea, appropriate for the coasts, but not considered palatable or needed in the Heartland.
Twelve years later, organizations across the state continue promoting farmland preservation, some in preparation for a November 7th ballot issue. One such organization is Save Leelanau Farmland!, Inc. They describe their organization as:
a ballot question committee comprised of concerned citizens that want to preserve the working farms, orchards, and vineyards of Leelanau County.
Another group, The Partnership for Change, is a State wide organization developed by the Land Information Access Association (LIAA), Michigan Municipal League (MML), the Michigan Townships Association (MTA), Michigan State University Extension (MSUE), and Michigan Association of Planning (MAP).

Read or listen to SAVING FARMLAND FROM SPRAWL
Read Farmland Protection: What's behind the growing interest? by The Planning Commission Journal
Visit SaveLeelanauFarmland.com
Visit Partnership for Change
Visit Michigan Department of Agriculture, Farmland Preservation website
Also take a look at a Michigan map of Qualified Local PDR Programs from the MDA

# posted by Tami @ 8:32 AM
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