Working Lands Updates

Jan 05, 2015

Farm Bill Program Authorizations

Congress acted on several Farm Bill-related programs in the appropriation bill passed recently. Here’s a brief summary, courtesy of American Farmland Trust

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Jan 05, 2015

Richard Stadelman Receives Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award

Richard Stadelman, a longtime advocate of wise land use and farmland preservation, was presented the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s “Distinguished Service to Agriculture” award during the organization’s 95th Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells on December 7.

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Jan 05, 2015

Enhanced Tax Extension Was Brief

The U.S. Senate formerly passed a bill extending a number of tax provisions—including the enhanced tax deduction for the donation of conservation easements – through the end of calendar year 2014. The bill, already passed by the U.S. House, also made the extension retroactive back to the first of the year, so the enhanced deduction will be available for conservation easement donations made between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2014. Many groups sought to make the enhanced incentive permanent.

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Jan 02, 2015

Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)

RCPP is a program worth watching for land trusts, county farmland preservation groups and other potential partners willing to be creative in their partnering efforts. See below for funding information.

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Dec 02, 2014

TDR Webinar Now On-Line

A recording of the recent Wisconsin Transfer of Development Rights Webinar is now on-line.

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Nov 06, 2014

NRCS Announces Easement Program Sign-Up, Deadlines

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications for its Fiscal Year 2015 Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP). Funds will be available for the purchase of conservation easements on eligible agricultural lands in Wisconsin. Applications must be completed by January 16, 2015.

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Oct 20, 2014

New Call-in Number for TDR Webinar

An upcoming webinar will focus on the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) tool for protecting farmland. American Farmland Trust will join the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for the webinar from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, Nov, 13. Please note that the call-in information for the webinar has changed.

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Oct 03, 2014

Rock County Sets the PACE

Rock County in south central Wisconsin has taken a big step toward permanently protecting some of Wisconsin’s best farmland.

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May 02, 2014

NRCS starts signup for ag land, wetland conservation easements

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications for its new Agricultural Conservation Easements Program. Funds will be available for the purchase of conservation easements on eligible agricultural lands and wetlands in Wisconsin.

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Mar 04, 2014

Koepke ELECTED VP of Ag Board

Waukesha County farmer John Koepke, a longtime supporter of farmland preservation efforts, has been elected vice present of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Citizens Board.

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Mar 04, 2014

Census Report says Wisconsin Saw a Loss in Farms and Acres Farmed

The state lost 8,700 farms and more than 620,000 acres of land in farms (land no longer part of a farm but not necessarily developed) from 2007 to 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Preliminary Census of Agriculture.

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Mar 04, 2014

Ag Easements Part of New Farm Bill

A key tool in farmland protection efforts – a federal agriculture easement program – is part of the Agricultural Act of 2014, the new Farm Bill. But there will be changes.

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Mar 04, 2014

AEA Bills Passed by Joint Finance

Both bills to increase the cap on Agricultural Enterprise Areas from 1 million to 2 million acres have been passed by the Joint Finance Committee.

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Nov 12, 2013

AEA Workshop Dec. 12 Offers Help to Petitioners

Anyone interested in designating an agricultural enterprise area, including landowners, local government leaders and business people, can learn about the process at a workshop 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, Dec. 12. Participants can attend in person or via webinar. Staff from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will provide guidance and answer questions, whether participants are already developing a petition or still considering what they might need to do before submitting a petition in the future.

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Nov 06, 2013

Harsdorf Bill Would Expand AEAs

A bill sponsored by state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls would raise the cap on agricultural enterprise areas from 1 million to 2 million acres.

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Oct 11, 2013

Petition period is now open for 2014 Agricultural Enterprise Area designation

The petition period is now open for 2014 Agricultural Enterprise Area designation, which can provide tax credits for farmers, keep land in agriculture, and stimulate the local farm economy. Agricultural enterprise areas, or AEAs, are blocks of land that are primarily in agricultural use, either for farming or for businesses that serve the farming sector

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Oct 11, 2013

Deadline approaches for FP agreement contracts

Landowners have until December 30, 2013, to sign a farmland preservation agreement contract. Those who do will be eligible to claim a $5 (or $10 if also under farmland preservation zoning) per acre farmland preservation tax credit on their 2013 taxes.

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Oct 10, 2013

Jefferson County Celebration

On Saturday, Oct. 5, more than 200 people came to learn about farmland preservation, tour a farm and enjoy conversation, good food and a live band. The event was sponsored by the Jefferson County Farmland Easement Commission.

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Jul 10, 2013

Farmland Protection Moves Forward in Budget

Farmland protection fared well in the recently passed state budget, thanks to the efforts of citizens like you across the state. In the previous budget cycle two years ago, farmland protection efforts took some deep hits, including defunding of the popular Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements program.

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Jun 28, 2013

Springfield latest locality to seek permanent protection

While Wisconsin isn’t currently funding its Purchase of Conservation Easements program, counties and towns across the state are still striving to permanently protect their best farmland. And federal programs to provide part of the cost of easements continue.

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Jun 28, 2013

Counties and towns continue farmland protection efforts

Counties and towns in Wisconsin continue work on protecting farmland, and some have active easement programs among their tools. Here’s a brief summary.

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Jun 28, 2013

Farmland easement tools still available

Wisconsin’s PACE program may be dormant for now, but landowners still have tools available if they’re considering permanent program of farmland. Two such tools include the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) and the enhanced federal tax incentives. Here’s some information on these tools.

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Jun 27, 2013

Farmland protection: How is Wisconsin doing?

It has been nearly five years since Wisconsin’s updated farmland protection program, the Working Lands Initiative, was established. So, how is it working? In short, pretty well.

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Jun 25, 2013

Partnering for Progress Barn Dance

An old-fashioned barn dance and harvest celebration with a lively band, locally-grown food and bushels of fun in a beautifully restored, 160-year-old barn on a fifth-generation, grass-based, family dairy farm that crafts its milk into artisanal cheeses.

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