With area farmers producing more than $506 million in products annually (2017 Ag Census), Ottawa County is an agricultural powerhouse. Ottawa is also the fastest growing county in the state and has a low unemployment rate. But this positive growth comes at a cost to agriculture: between 2012 and 2017, Ottawa County lost 8% of its farmed acreage and 17% of its farms. Ottawa County's Farmland Preservation Program seeks to protect this vital industry.
This voluntary program works with landowners to preserve and protect eligible farms.
Purchase of Development Rights Program
Ottawa County's Purchase of Development Rights 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.Learn More »
Events & More
Farms Are the Tapas 2024
What Farmland Means To Us
The merits of farmland preservation in Ottawa County, Michigan
Over the summer of 2022, DSI staff member Rich C. Lakeberg conducted a handful of leaders from a variety of private and public organizations what Ottawa County farmland means to them. The result: A 10-minute video documentary which tells the story of Ottawa County agriculture and emphasizes the importance of farmland preservation. This video was first shown at Farms are the Tapas 2022.
In 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the County $44,885 to build up its local support system for new and prospective farmers. The result was the MiFarmLink Project. This joint public-private initiative is connecting those looking to get started in the business of ag with the resources and skills they need to be successful.Learn More »
Tour Our Protected Farms
Farmland Protection Strategy
In early 2019, Ottawa County surveyed agricultural land owners to learn how we can best support our agriculture industry, making it more economically robust and protected for future generations. The result of this survey, the Farmland Preservation Survey Results and Recommendations document, was used to develop the Ottawa County’s Focus on Agriculture economic development plan.