By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING — A Bankruptcy Court judge in Detroit has cleared the way for a debtor to sell farm property despite a conservation easement owned by a local land conservancy. However, the purchaser must comply with the easement that bans non-farming use of part of the land and is intended to “protect the property’s natural resource and watershed values; to protect the property’s prime agricultural soils and to maintain and enhance the natural features of the property,” Judge Mark Randon ruled. In 2003, Legacy Land Conservancy paid Carolyn Strieter $195,000 for a conservation easement on 77 of her 96.6 acres of farmland in Freedom Township near Ann Arbor. Such easements limit how property can be used. Part of the money came from what was then the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program.