|Click to view this email in a browser September 2010|
State Policy Update
Farmland Preservation Lien Recapture
Heart of the Lakes successfully secured a commitment from Representative Mike Huckleberry (R-Greenville), the chair of the House Committee on Agriculture, to take up legislation in committee that would aid Michigan’s farmland preservation program. When landowners leave the Farmland Development Rights Agreement Program (PA 116) they are required to pay the state back a portion of the tax incentive they received through the program. Currently, there is no penalty or incentive to encourage payback, and thus more than $12MM in funds are owed the state Agriculture Preservation Fund. HB 4158 would provide a 10-15% discount to landowners who have left the program, giving them time to pay the state back at a slightly reduced rate, and also require an interest penalty be applied to all new agreements. Read More
The House of Representatives is unlikely to pursue the passage of HB 5681 (Rep. Darwin Booher, R-Evart), legislation that would waive the penalty for withdrawal from the commercial forestry program for land sold to a public body for public use. Although the legislation would have had other applications, the legislation was introduced largely to aid the success of a land deal in Antrim County, with the assistance of Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy.
Federal Policy Update
Estate Tax Legislation
Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) recently introduced S. 3664, the Family Farm Estate Tax Deferral Act of 2010. The bill includes an expanded exclusion from estate tax for easement donors, increasing the IRC 2031(c) exclusion from 40% to 50% of the value of the protected land, and increasing the cap on that exclusion from $500,000 to $5 million. In addition, a stand-alone bill, S. 3640, which would provide the same tax incentive, is still under consideration.
Enhanced Easement Tax Incentive
Renewal of the enhanced tax incentive for donations of conservation easements has been delayed until Congress returns from a five-week recess. Land conservancies across the country are urging Congress to add this incentive to the trillions of dollars worth of extensions of income tax cuts that will be considered this fall. Extension of this incentive would provide a means for helping modest-income landowners voluntarily donate land.
Land Conservation News
HOL Members Receive DNRE Water Quality Grants
In August, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE) announced the award of 14 water quality grants totaling $3.9 million that will permanently protect and restore rivers and wetlands and support watershed planning.
Three Heart of the Lakes members, Legacy Land Conservancy, Land Conservancy of West Michigan, and Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy received $1.4 million of the total awarded for water quality projects. Read More
Project Highlight: Thread Creek Farm
Thread Creek Farm is a working Genesee County farm that produces native Michigan perennial flowers, sweet corn, and pumpkins and includes a small herd of cattle and turkeys. Open to school groups in the fall, 97 acres of the 140-acre farm is now permanently protected thanks to the North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy. Learn more about the farm and browse their photos here.
March to One Million!
Save the Date! March 3 is the Heart of the Lakes 6th Annual Summit, which will be held at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Lansing. To suggest topics or to inquire about making a presentation, please contact Julie at email@example.com
Circle March 3 on those new 2011 calendars for the premier gathering of Michigan’s land conservancies and our conservation partners. Registration opens in November!
Land Conservancy of West Michigan
The Land Conservancy of West Michigan seeks qualified candidates for two positions, a part-time Accountant / Office Manager to support accounting, financial and business activities and a full-time Conservation Easement Specialist to manage all aspects of conservation easements held by LCWM.
Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy
Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy seeks a Land Protection Specialist to identify and protect natural areas in their service area of Oakland, Macomb, Genesee, and Lapeer Counties.
Events and Training
Advancing Conservancy Excellence
Ask An Attorney—Estate Planning for Land Transactions and Bequests
Heart of the Lakes
Heart of the Lakes Annual Summit
Land Trust Alliance
LTA Rally 2010Land Trust Alliance On-Line Trainings
Introduction to Easement Amendments
Other Training Opportunities:
The Stewardship Network
Free monthly webcasts on the second Wednesday of each month (11:45 am to 1 pm) on various topics relating to the care of natural lands and waters. Topics are posted here: www.stewardshipnetwork.org
Michigan Nonprofit Association
For training opportunities throughout the state, check out the Michigan Nonprofit Association’s Statewide Training Calendar:
In This Issue
Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy
300 N. Bridge Street, Grand Ledge, MI 48837 | 517.925.8649 | www.heartofthelakes.org
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Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy
300 N. Bridge St.
Grand Ledge, Michigan 48837
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