Since the 1800’s, the Tobias family has owned a farm in Baltimore Township, Barry County, homesteading the farmland through the federal government.
Tuesday, July 24 at 10 a.m., 135 acres of the Tobias farmland at 440 Pritchardville Road will be celebrated as Michigan’s 50th donated Agricultural Conservation Easement.
George Cullers made the donation. His late wife Donna’s family was the fourth generation of the Tobias family to own the property.
“The number one reason I donated the development rights was because this was purchased from the federal government in the 1800’s by my wife’s ancestors.
“Also, I know we are losing farmland in Michigan and all across the country. This is one way to prevent the loss of agriculture land; this is a permanent easement and cannot be broken,” he said.
“Years ago, you could sell development rights, so we signed up for that, but there was no funding mechanism for it. When my wife passed, I decided to donate it.”
Cullers said protecting farmland also protects habitat for wildlife, “they work hand in hand,” and a conservation easement actually increases its value. His property is next to the Ken and Alice Jones property, which is next to Pierce Cedar Creek Institute land, both in conservancy.
Cullers hopes others will consider entering into permanent easements, too. “I’d like to see that happen. It’s important.”
The Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development hosts the recognition of the 50th donated Agricultural Conservation Easement and “thank you” to Cullers.