Doyle Wants to Preserve Land

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle proposed a budget that will try to preserve farmland. The proposal redirects tens of millions of dollars in state incentives to keep farmers from selling land to developers.
The latest agriculture census drew concern when it showed farmland is vanishing, especially in southeastern Wisconsin and Dane County. In 2008 farmland was down 19 percent from the 18.8 million acres that existed in 1978, a year after the last preservation law was passed in Wisconsin.
“A decade from now and beyond that it’ll be potentially recognized as one of the significant environmental and land use steps that we’ve taken,” said the state agriculture secretary Rod Nilsestuen to the Wisconsin State Journal.
This could be a problem because 12 percent of Wisconsin workforce is in the agriculture business.
Doyle’s proposed strategies include:
• Using $12 million in unused borrowing authority from a separate conservation program so the state could partner with local governments or conservation groups, who would put up matching funds to buy the development rights to agricultural land. The program might also be able to pull in more federal money. Farmers would continue to own and work those fields, which they could still sell as farmland.
• Pushing local governments to update their planning and zoning rules by the end of 2015 to identify farmland that should be protected in their area. Dane County would need to have its updates in place by the end of 2011 or farmers in those communities could lose certain state farmland preservation tax credits.
• Using $27 million a year from two existing state farm tax credit programs to create a new farmland preservation tax credit. The credit would go to farmers according to their acres of land, not their profits. The credit would also be higher if the farms are included in an area zoned for agriculture and the farmers have an agreement with the state to keep land in farming.
• Allowing neighboring farmers to band together to form an agricultural enterprise area, which would entitle them to more state tax credits and possibly other state help.
If you are interested in helping preserve land by purchasing farmland contact Farm Plus today. Low rate farm loans are available. Farm Plus even works with government agencies to get you the farm loans you need. Call 866-929-5585 or visit online for more information regarding farm loans.