From 1998 through 2006, we worked with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to protect nearly 16,300 acres of important agricultural lands from development. Over the life of the program, we purchased the development rights on 63 farm properties that faced high threat of development, ensuring they remain conserved under private ownership—supporting food supply, water quality and local economies across the state of Michigan.

why this project matters

Many of the farms flagged by the Michigan Farmland Legacy Program were lands with microclimate conditions unique to the area, meaning they are ideal for growing popular fruit crops such as cherries, cranberries and blueberries. Michigan’s food and agriculture industry contributes over $100 billion annually to the state's economy. In fact, Michigan is 19th in the nation for food processing, according to the Michigan Farm Bureau.

Additionally, these lands provide important habitat for numerous species of waterfowl and migratory birds. Even under private ownership, these important habitats can be preserved. For example, the LeFurge Woods in Washtenaw County was one of the largest privately owned properties in the state and had immense ecological value to the surrounding region. The land is part of an important corridor for migrating neo-tropical birds and includes the headwaters of the Rouge & Huron Rivers. Keeping the land undeveloped maintains water quality and fish habitat, in addition to enhancing the already high recreational values of these rivers.