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Farmland Preservation Conference
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Michigan farmerThe Next Critical Ingredient—Investment Funds

When more than 120 people gather in a hotel ballroom to hear speakers on investment topics—you might imagine they are talking about financial planning, retirement funds or a get-rich-quick scheme. Instead, a newly formed group called Agricultural Preserve Boards of Michigan held a conference with the help of American Farmland Trust.

Conference attendees heard from experts why investing in farmland preservation is key to the health of Michigan agriculture, from supporting 360 million gallons of ethanol production and providing open space for future wind energy projects, to producing fresh local food for communities. Although 21 local Purchase of Development Rights programs have been established and nearly 20,000 acres of farmland protected, the programs are in critical need of more cost sharing dollars at the state and local levels, since the current annual state funding is less than $1 million.

Learn how Michigan’s Pennisula Township has worked to protect unique farmland where orchard crops, vineyards and nearly 40 percent of the nation’s tart red cherries are grown in this AFT case study.

Conference Topics
Wind Energy and Ethanol Development in Michigan
Federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program
Federal Policy and County Agricultural Updates

Conference Speakers
Rich Harlow - Michigan Department of Agriculture
Gene Garber - Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Agricultural Preservation Board
Ralph Robertson - Carroll County, Maryland Agricultural Lands Preservation Board
Richard Vander Veen - Mackinaw Power

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American Farmland Trust