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Planning & Performance Improvement

Ottawa County Farmland Preservation Program

Ottawa County’s Farmland Preservation Program is a voluntary program that preserves farmland by purchasing or receiving donations of development rights from an actively farmed property. Landowners are compensated for lost development potential, yet still own the land and retain all other rights associated with it.  The land must continue to be used for agricultural purposes, or remain in a natural state perpetually regardless of transfer or sale of property.

Hehl Farm - First Farm Preserved by Farmland Preservation Program

Hehl Farm

The Hehl Farm, owned by Matt and Amy Hehl, is a 34.9 acre hog and cattle farm in Polkton Township. In addition to being the first farm permanently preserved by the Ottawa County PDR Program, the farm is also a certified centennial farm.

View more pics from the Hehl Farm Preservation Event »

Benefits of Ottawa County’s Farmland Preservation Program

  • Economic Impact: Supports the vibrant agricultural community in Ottawa County
  • Food Supply: Promotes a fresh, sustainable, local food supply
  • Environmental: Protects natural integrity of farmland as well as conserves prime and unique soils
  • Quality of Life: Adds to the scenic views and natural beauty of West Michigan

How it works

Application Process

If you are interested in permanently preserving your farmland, the first step is to complete this brief pre-application form and submit it to A member of our staff will contact you to confirm that your property is eligible, assist you with completing the full application form, and answer any questions you might have about selling the development rights to your farmland. The Ottawa County Agricultural Preservation Board will then review and prioritize applications based on Scoring Criteria and available funds.

If you have any questions, please contact us:
Ottawa County Farmland Preservation Program
12220 Fillmore Street, Room 260
(616) 738-4852

Ottawa County Agricultural Preservation Board

The Agricultural Preservation Board is the governing board over the Farmland Preservation Program. Public meetings are held the first Wednesday of the month at 8:00am at the Fillmore Street Complex.