Application window opens for conservation and restoration funding for Michigan landowners

What’s happening: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently announced a new wave of financial assistance made available to Michigan agricultural producers, landowners, and forestland owners. Three separate programs, each with their application deadlines scheduled for mid-November, aim to support those landowners in their farmland preservation, conservation, and wetland restoration efforts.

First due: Applications for the USDA’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program are due by Monday, Nov. 13. The funds will financially support farmland preservation entities – including American Indian tribes, land trusts, state and local units of government, and non-governmental organizations – in their efforts to permanently protect agricultural properties from being converted to non-agricultural uses.

Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service to apply, a complete list of which is available online.

[Related: Read about a recent farmland preservation win in Michigan’s Barry County on Rural Innovation Exchange.]

Why it’s important: “Protecting agricultural lands preserves Michigan’s heritage, natural resources and open space,” says Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist Garry Lee. “Easements are also important tools for people who are trying to improve the management of their land.”

Next up: Applications for the USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program are due by Friday, Nov. 17. The funds are available to Michigan agricultural producers and private forestland owners for a wide range of conservation projects, including cover crops, conservation tillage, forest management plans, forest stand improvements, prescribed grazing plans, and tree planting.

Contact your local USDA Service Center or online via to apply.

And finally: Applications for the USDA’s wetland restoration program are also due by Friday, Nov. 17. The program provides private landowners with financial assistance to restore wetlands on their properties. Instances of wetlands having been converted to agricultural use may also be eligible for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, which offers financial assistance and also long-term or permanent easement purchases from owners.

Contact your local USDA Service Center to apply.

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