A county farmland preservation plan establishes trends and resources related to agriculture, documents policies and goals related to farmland protection and identifies lands that will remain in agricultural use for the foreseeable future. Counties with agricultural lands can use a farmland preservation plan to guide conservation and preservation efforts in the county. This plan also acts as the foundation for other aspects of the farmland preservation program including certified zoning, agricultural enterprise areas (AEAs) and farmland preservation agreements. The planning process is an opportunity for different levels of local government to cooperate and build relationships. A county is encouraged to include local towns, cities and village's land use plans and engage with local stakeholders to draft the plan. When a county plans for farmland preservation, they are acknowledging that agricultural lands are integral to the future of that community.
Farmland Preservation Planning Grants to Counties
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is currently accepting county applications for farmland preservation planning grants. A grant may reimburse up to 50% of a county’s cost to prepare a farmland preservation plan or update, up to a maximum grant of $30,000. In order to participate in the state farmland preservation program, a county must first have a state-certified farmland preservation plan. Landowners in participating counties may qualify for tax credits. To request a grant consultation or a copy of the grant application, please contact program staff at DATCPWorkingLands@wisconsin.gov.
Counties must meet requirements for plan certification which include a clear articulation of county policies related to preserving farmland and promoting agricultural development, including development of enterprises related to agriculture. Counties do not need to plan lands in each town for farmland preservation for a plan to be certifiable. For a complete list of planning requirements, please review Chapter 91, Wis. Stats. and Administrative Rule ATCP 49. For an abbreviated list of planning requirements, please review the Application for Certification of a County Farmland Preservation Plan linked below.
DATCP may certify a revised plan for up to 10 years. A county must submit a completed application form, cover memo (see Part A. 4 of the application), along with required text and maps in its application for certification.
Application for Certification of a County Farmland Preservation Plan
Plan Expiration Extension
Under s. 91.14(4), Wis. Stats. or Admin. Rule ATCP 49.10(2), counties may request a delay of the expiration date of a county's certified farmland preservation plan for up to 2 years with a written request.
Contact DATCPWorkingLands@wisconsin.gov if you wish to request an extension for your county's farmland preservation plan.