Leelanau FarmAbility leads to about face for farm millage opponents

The Leelanau Enterprise reports that two staunch opponents of a failed Leelanau Farmland Preservation millage (Keith Parker & County Commissioner Melinda Lautner) have enrolled in the Leelanau FarmAbility Program. Lautner remarked that the difference for her was that the program was financed with private money. Along with the Lautners and the Parkers, the Conservancy’s Tom Nelson says that over 20 property owners have put almost 3,000 acres into the program.

“Our goal is to reach 5,000 acres, and we may do that within the next couple of weeks,” said Nelson. “So far, we have a nice cross-section of farms with a variety of crops, and parcels ranging from 10-acre specialty farms up to 440 acres.”

Called the “FarmAbility Program,” it’s the first privately run program of its kind in the U.S. and will offer financial incentives and other benefits to family farmers in return for them continuing to farm their lands for a 10-year period. The program will provide annual cash payments of $10 per acre of active agricultural land and $5 per acre for woodlots, wetlands and other acreage with significant conservation value.

“One of the things that really attracted us to the program is the fact that it’s not forever – it’s only for 10 years,” said Lautner. “Our son is only 23, and we’d like to see him succeed in farming – but a lot can happen in 10 years.”

Definitely read the rest of the story and check that FarmAbility link above for more.

Photo: merely chimera? by smartee_martee

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