Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill that would expand farmland preservation agreements and increasing farmland preservation tax credits. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation applauds the move.
Among the updates to the program created under the bill are the following:
- Reducing the minimum number of years a farmer would have to commit to the program from 15 to 10 years. This gives more flexibility and account for estate planning.
- Increase payments from $7.50 to $10 per acre for land located in a farmland preservation zoning district but not subject to a farmland preservation agreement.
- Increase payments from $5 to $10 per acre for land subject to a farmland preservation agreement but not located in a farmland preservation zoning district.
- Increase payments from $10 to $12.50 per acre for land located in a farmland preservation zoning district and are subject to a farmland preservation agreement.
“These changes will ensure we can continue to adapt to meet the needs of Wisconsin’s farmers while continuing to prioritize efforts that help ensure the long-term viability of our state’s farming operations and conservation efforts…” Evers said in a statement.
WFBF thanks the governor and the bills authors, Sen. Pat Testin, R-Stevens Point, and Rep. Loren Oldenburg, R-Viroqua, for their leadership in updating the requirements and incentives provided by the program, an ongoing effort for the past six years.
Farmland Preservation is a voluntary program that started in the 1970s. It gives financial incentives for farmers to keep their land in production while preserving soil and water quality.
“We’ve recently seen a falloff in interest in participating in the program as incentives hadn’t been updated since 2009 and compliance costs increased,” says WFBF Executive Director of Governmental Affairs Jason Mugnaini. “The changes made today will assure the continued success of this longstanding program that helps farmers further their conservation efforts and keeps Wisconsin farmland in production.”