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Town of Bayfield Farmland Preservation Program

Bayfield apples, blueberries, raspberries and cherries grow on the ridge above Lake Superior which has the right combination of land, soil and micro-climate to produce fruit that contributes over $1 million dollars to our local economy and forms the base of our tourist economy.

Yet the fruit-growers in northern Bayfield County are facing an uncertain future as farmland is converted to residential use. These lands are attractive for residential development because of their "million dollar view" of Lake Superior. The Town of Bayfield wants to provide fruit growers with an alternative to selling their land for development by starting a Purchase of Development Rights program.

The Bayfield Regional Conservancy is providing technical assistance to the Town of Bayfield's Farmland Preservation Committee to further this effort.

What is Purchase of Development Rights?

In a Purchase of Development Rights Program, the grower retains ownership and control of the property, but agrees to limit or extinguish their development rights in return for cash. In the Michigan cherry-growing region, growers have taken the cash and invested in their operation, others have retired in comfort, with a young farmer buying the land at affordable rates. The land is preserved for agricultural use and is an excellent way to keep farming as a viable business in a rural, tourist economy such as Bayfield County.

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