Connecting Landowners, Growers and Markets Using Purchase of Development Rights (PDR)

2010 Annual Report for LNC08-302

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2008: $20,900.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Barry Lonik
Ann Arbor Township

Connecting Landowners, Growers and Markets Using Purchase of Development Rights (PDR)


The Connecting Landowners, Growers and Markets project spent its second year promoting relationships to facilitate the startup of new small farm operations in Ann Arbor Township (AAT). Many contacts with landowners and growers were achieved through emails, phone calls, meetings, site visits and conference attendance. Several landowners responded to a mailing regarding lease for small farms but had never previously responded to township mailings for its purchase of development rights (PDR) program; now both options may be pursued. One 20-acre property was purchased by a beginning farmer who found it on the township web site listing properties for sale and lease; he is starting his operation in 2011 and may apply for PDR. A second beginning farmer purchased land protected through PDR in a neighboring township after contacting project staff. Plans were made to hold a meeting of AAT landowners and interested growers early in 2011 to facilitate lease arrangements. A small farm conservation easement (attached) was finalized and achieved approval for use by the federal Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program (FRPP), which supplies communities with funds to assist in PDR projects.

Much activity also occurred on the 150-acre township-owned property (see attached vision statement). The Ann Arbor-based Four Season Farmer Development Program (4SFPD) submitted a request for proposals (attached) to which the township responded; 4SFPD selected the property as the site for its training program. An application was distributed by 4SFDP to beginning farmers; three were selected to begin a two-year internship starting in 2011. Two other small farm development projects were proposed for the township property; one--the Farmer Residency Program and Farm Incubator Program--is awaiting word on a grant proposal to fund a project similar to 4SFPD. Ann Arbor Township is partnering with these programs by waiving lease fees for three years, providing access to the historic barn (on which the township spent $40,000 for a new roof, stabilization and other improvements) and installing electricity and an irrigation well. SARE funds were used to research potential funding sources for other fundable items (attached).

Objectives/Performance Targets

The project's short-term objective was to identify and introduce landowners and farmers; that was met in year two and is continuing. The long-term objectives were to establish relationships (which has occurred in year two), produce business plans (which has not occurred) and to establish operations (which are beginning in 2011).


*obtained approval for small farm conservation easement from federal Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program (FRPP)
*numerous contacts with landowners and growers
*mailing to landowners seeking land for lease to small farms
*small farm purchase by beginning farmer from info on township web site
*referral to another beginning farmer who purchased easement-protected land in neighboring township
*selection of Ann Arbor Township property as site for farmer training program
*installation of electricity and irrigation well on township property to support farmer training program

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

The project's impacts and contributions will be realized in year three.