Farmland Preservation Zoning For Landowners

​​​​​NEW! Farmland Preservation Program Legislative Updates

​On December 6, 2023, Governor Evers signed Assembly Bill 133, now Wisconsin Act 42, which makes changes to farmland preservation agreements minimum term lengths​ and increasing farmland preservation tax credits for all current participants. These changes go into effect starting on December 8, 2023 and will affect tax credit claims beginning tax year 2023.  

Check out the Legislative Updates to the Farmland Preservation Program handout for more information.

​What does it mean if my land is in a farmland preservation zoning district? 

Farmland preservation zoning, like other general zoning districts, require that lands within the district conform to a set of land use standards enumerated in a general zoning ordinance. Land uses within certified farmland preservation zoning districts are limited to agriculture and other compatible uses. These ordinances are locally crafted but must meet or be more restrictive than standards identified in Ch. 91 for Farmland Preservation Zoning.

Landowners with lands covered by a certified farmland preservation zoning district may be eligible to claim a $10.00/acre or $12.50/acre if they are also covered by a farmland preservation agreement in an agricultural enterprise area and tax credit provided they meet other eligibility requirements, such as complying with state soil and water conservation standards. Landowners within a district who choose not to claim the credit still must comply with land use restrictions identified in the local ordinance.​

How do I determine if my land has been zoned for farmland preservation? 

Contact your local zoning administrator’s office. They will help you determine which parcels/acreage fall within a certified district. If your farm crosses multiple zoning jurisdictions, consult each zoning authority. A certified zoning ordinance may be amended to add lands to a farmland preservation district if those lands were planned for farmland preservation in the certified county farmland preservation plan.

Is there a penalty for zoning my land out of a certified farmland preservation zoning district?

No. The requirement to collect a rezone conversion fee from the Farmland Preservation Program was removed from the statutes under 2011 WI ACT 32, the biennial budget bill. Under these changes, any individual requesting a rezone does not need to pay the conversion fee.​ A zoning jurisdiction may charge an administrative rezone fee. 

Do I need a zoning certificate to claim the tax credit? 

No, a zoning certificate is no longer required to claim the farmland preservation credit on Schedule FC-A for lands zoned in a certified farmland preservation zoning district.​

Do I need a certificate of compliance? 

Yes, all landowners claiming the farmland preservation tax credit under a certified zoning ordinance must first obtain a certificate of compliance from the land conservation department in the county where your farm is located.  For more information, please contact the land conservation department in the county where your land is located.​

Helpful Resources

​​Guide to Claiming the Farmland Preservation Tax Credit 

Farmland Preservation Tax Credit Fact Sheet

Farmland Preservation Zoning Talking Points

List of local jurisdictions with certified farmland preservation zoning ordinances