Farmland Preservation & Agricultural Enterprise Areas
Working Lands Initiative (WLI):
Farmland Preservation is part of the Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection's Working Lands Initiative to improve on agricultural preservation and development. The WLI, was established in 2009 to maintain agricultural land for its cultural, economic, and environmental potential. Our land continues to bring together communities and produce valued agricultural products.
The two main programs that are within WLI are:
- Agricultural Enterprise Area (AEA) and Farmland Preservation (FP)
- Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement (PACE)
Agricultural Enterprise Area (AEA):Agricultural Enterprise Areas are part of the new Farmland Preservation Program within the WLI. AEAs are designed to preserve large tracts of prime farmland. These areas are locally identified and supported as an area with agricultural significance and the potential for continual agricultural development. There are no land use controls associated with being located within an AEA, it simply allows landowners to sign up for new Farmland Preservation Agreements. Currently, landowners are only able to sign up for new agreements if they are located within an AEA or within Farmland Preservation Zoning. This program is designed for communities to band together in order to designate an area of historically prime farm production and a potential for continual agricultural development.
Trempealeau County does not have Farmland Preservation Zoning, but landowners are currently working on designating an AEA within the Town of Arcadia. In order to create an AEA landowners must work with local government to write a petition application that is brought before local governing bodies and the Department of Agriculture for approval. If you would like to learn more about their efforts or how you can get involved please take a moment to look through the petition application here. Everyone can join in their efforts by either signing the petition, or gathering signatures. Please contact the Department of Land Management or Jon Schultz for further information.
Farmland Preservation Program (FP):This is a voluntary agreement, which helps to preserve your land for agricultural use, while providing you with tax credits. In return for agreeing to keep your land in agricultural production for 15 years, you receive an income tax credit of $5/acre for each acre under contract. Agreement holders must also adhere to current soil and water conservation standards. Any County Livestock Siting, Animal Waste Storage permit holder, cost-share recipient, or current farmland preservation agreement holder already meet those soil and water conservation standards. This is a great opportunity for landowners that want to maintain a productive farm for years to come. You may participate in this program if you are within an AEA. If you are interested in farmland preservation agreements or creating an AEA where you live, please contact the Department of Land Management for more information.
Note: We do have many land owners that have FP agreements and are not within an AEA, since previously AEAs did not exist. These participants will need to be in an AEA in order to re-enroll when their agreement expires.
Contact the Department of Land Management at 715-538-2311 ext. 223 for more information or to let her know you would be interested.