What is a Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) Program?
PDR Programs are economic development tools to retain agricultural businesses.
A PDR Program is a voluntary program that compensates owners of agricultural
property for their willingness to accept a permanent deed restriction
on their land that limits future development of the land for non-agricultural
Landowners are compensated for the fair market value of their
land, based on the difference between what it could be sold for on the
open market with no restrictions and what it can be sold for as farmland.
Independent, professional appraisers determine these values and an agreement
is negotiated on an individual basis with the farmer. Once an easement
is in place, the landowner may still sell the land on the open market
as farmland. All private property rights remain intact.
Why is preserving farmland important to Kent County?
A committee of Kent County residents identified the following list.
Economic Benefits of Farmland Protection
Agriculture provides economic diversity as essential contributor
to local economy
Important to create a long-term business environment for the
future growth and changing market opportunities of the local agriculture
Insure a safe, adequate local food supply
Environmental Benefits of Farmland Protection
Prime and unique soils
Integral part of natural resource infrastructure
Social Benefits of Farmland Protection
Helps maintain a quality of life for all citizens
Protects rural character, beautiful country side and scenic vistas
Promote a sustainable and viable urban-rural community interface
Kent County is the 5th most agriculturally productive county in the
state with a market value of over $149 million annually. It is an important
sector of our economy and provides many jobs.
Once farmland is converted to development, it is very difficult for
the land to be farmed.
In today’s marketplace, large blocks of farmland are needed
to create a long-term business environment for farming. Essential infrastructure
such as farm equipment suppliers, processors, and others will leave
if they don’t have a sustainable customer base.
Why would a landowner be interested in PDR?
The Michigan Department of Agriculture lists the following as potential
benefits to the landowner for their participation in a PDR Program:
Participation is completely voluntary.
All private property rights remain intact.
The landowner can access a portion of the land equity, while still
maintaining ownership and agricultural use of the land without having
to sell it for development or non-farm uses.
Cash from the sale of the development rights can be used for reducing
debt, lowering operating costs, improving or expanding farm operations,
college educations, retirement, or for any purpose the individual wishes.
Property taxes and inheritance taxes are based only on the residual
agricultural value of the land rather than the full developmental value.
Farmland is now more affordable for younger farmers and eases the
transfer of property to future generations.
The landowner can still borrow against the reduced equity in their
land. Other states’ track records show remaining land retains
excellent (and increasing) resale value.
Board of Commissioners
County Administration Building
300 Monroe Avenue NW
Grand Rapids MI 49503