Ottawa County announces new program to preserve farmlands

Michigan

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) – Ottawa County has lost over 14,000 acres of farmland in the past five years.

A new program is hoping to preserve eligible agriculturally zoned properties in the area.

The Purchase of Development Rights program creates easements in development right sales to guarantee that land is used for agricultural purposes or remains in a natural state forever.

Of the nearly 2,000 Ottawa County producers, 30% are of retirement age and less than 10% are under 35.

“For our agricultural industry to thrive, it’s vital we work together to protect our productive farmland from development,” said Cliff Meeuwsen, Ottawa County Agricultural Preservation Board chair and Zeeland Farm Services president. “This program is a valuable tool in the County’s long-term strategy for farmland preservation.”

Landowners are compensated for lost development potential, yet still own the land and retain all other rights associated with it. Interested parties can apply now through April 30th by completing an application online.

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