Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Washtenaw lands 100% of federal farm preservation dollars

18. June 2007 • Murph
Email this article

The Ann Arbor News reports that 527 acres of farmland in four parcels in Scio and Webster Townships have landed $1.6 million from the Federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program – all of the money awarded within Michigan. The awards do not mean that the lands have been protected under conservation easements, but will need to be paired with other funds in order to reach final conservation deals:

The Greenbelt Advisory Commission has recommended to Ann Arbor City Council that it approve $1 million for the Wing farm preservation, Garfield said. The greenbelt program is funded by a tax approved by Ann Arbor voters in 2003.

The Wing farm received a $462,000 grant from the Federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program last year, and a $118,000 state land preservation grant a few months ago, said Barry Lonik, land preservation consultant for Scio and Webster townships.

The Merkel and Smyth properties are kitty-corner across Zeeb Road from each other, and the Merkel property is adjacent to another, 180-acre farm preserved last year, Lonik said.

“This is a sizable block of protected farmland there in Webster Township,’‘ he said. The greenbelt program also is involved in the effort to save the Merkel farm.

Both Scio and Webster Townships have land preservation millages and are likely to be contributors to the final deals for preserving the parcels in their boundaries. The property owners also are possible contributors.

Washtenaw County netted 61% of Michigan’s 2006 haul from this funding source, and 75% in 2005.