YORK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Washtenaw County farm that has belonged to the same family for more than a century will remain under agricultural use, thanks to a preservation agreement with the nonprofit Legacy Land Conservancy.
The Rogers family was the first to establish a farm in the York Township area in the 1800s, according to The Ann Arbor News (http://bit.ly/1kggak5 ). The farm is about 10 miles south of Ann Arbor.
In the latest move, current owner Kendall Rogers placed a conservation easement agreement on 159 acres of farmland. Now, 240 of the farm's 460 acres are protected from future development.
Rogers said he has a strong commitment to maintaining the family's farming legacy.
"Pa and I were in partnership for a long time," he said in a statement. "Now my grandson Aaron can continue to farm our land".
The Legacy Land Conservancy was founded in 1971 and protects about 5,500 acres. The deal with the Rogers family aims to keep the land under cultivation, the group said.
"The agreement binds that landowner and all future landowners to certain uses of the property and prevents others," said Susan Lackey, executive director of the Legacy Land Conservancy. "In this instance, he agreed that the property will never be subdivided and can't be developed. "It can be farmed, so he or his heirs or anyone else can do whatever they would need to do to run a farm on the property. But they can't subdivide it."
Federal laws creating conservation easements were drafted in the mid-1980s, Lackey said. They can counter the loss of farmland that happens when generations pass, she said.
"Farmers are getting older, and there are folks out there who are younger farmers who would like to acquire this land, but if I'm an incumbent farmer pretty much everything I have is tied up in this land," Lackey said.
"It's one of those things where you go, 'Holy cow someone actually did something really, really smart in Washington,'" she said.
Information from: The Ann Arbor News, http://www.mlive.com/ann-arbor