Farmland Preservation Program

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The main purpose of the Farmland Preservation Program is to preserve Wisconsin rural land by means of local land use planning and conservation practices.  Landowners that participate in the Farmland Preservation Program are eligible to collect Farmland Preservation tax credits.

All Towns have the choice to participate in the program, as the program is not state mandated.  If a Town wishes to participate, there are two methods to participate in the program:  Farmland Preservation Zoning and/or Farmland Preservation Agreements.

Depending on the Town's method of participation, eligible landowners may collect one of the following tax credit amounts:

  • $5.00 per acre for land entered in to a Farmland Preservation Agreement (located in an Agricultural Enterprise Area - AEA).  The Town of Ashippun and the northwest portion of the Town of Emmet is eligible for this tax credit amount.
  • $7.50 per acre for land within a Farmland Preservation Zoning District.  The following towns are eligible for this tax credit:  Calamus, Chester, Fox Lake, Herman, Hustisford, Lebanon, Leroy, Lomira, Oak Grove, Theresa and Williamstown.
  • $10.00 per acre for land within the Farmland Preservation Zoning district and land that was entered in to a Farmland Preservation Agreement.  The following towns are eligible for this tax credit:  Burnett, Elba, Porltand, Shields, Trenton.

If a Town does not participate by farmland preservation zoning or does not obtain an AEA (for farmland preservation agreements), the Town's landowners are not eligible for the Farmland Preservation Program tax credits:  Landowners in the following towns are not eligible for the program: Beaver Dam, Clyman, Hubbard, Lowell, Rubicon, and Westford.

Farmland Preservation Zoning Map

Landowner participation eligibility requirements are:

  • Land must be covered by exclusive agricultural/farmland preservation zoning, or be covered by an approved Farmland Preservation Program Long-Term Agreement with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). There is no minimum acreage requirement.
  • Landowners must show a minimum of $6,000 in gross farm revenues for the past year, or minimum of $18,000 over the past three years.
  • Property taxes on the land must be paid by the participating landowner.
  • Landowners must certify on their state income tax return that they are in compliance with state soil & water conservation standards.

Soil & water conservation requirements:

All landowners claiming tax credits under the revised program must comply with statewide conversation standards. The statewide conservation standards are specified in the Wisconsin Administrative Rules ATCP 50 and NR151, and are summarized below:

  1. All land where crops or feed are grown shall be cropped to achieve a soil erosion rate equal to, or less than, the “tolerable” (T) rate established for that soil, according to the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation, Version 2 – (RUSLE2)
  2. Cropland gully erosion is under control.
  3. All crop producers and livestock producers that apply manure or other nutrients to agricultural fields shall have and follow an annual nutrient management plan that complies with USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service Technical Standard #590
  4. Construction of a new manure storage facility or alterations to an old manure storage facility must be done so as to minimize the risk of structural failure or leakage. (Dodge County also has an ordinance regulating manure storage construction and closure)
  5. A manure storage facility shall be closed when the facility has ceased operation, or manure has not been added or removed for a period of 24 months; and closure shall be done in a manner that will prevent contamination of groundwater or surface water
  6. Failing and leaking manure storage facilities that pose an imminent threat to public health or wildlife, etc. shall be upgraded, replaced or abandoned
  7. Runoff shall be diverted away from contacting feedlots, manure storage or barnyard areas within water quality management areas (within 300 feet of a stream or ditch; or within 1,000 feet of a lake)
  8. There shall be no overflow of a manure storage facility
  9. There shall be no unconfined manure pile within water quality management areas
  10. There shall be no direct runoff from a feedlot or stored manure into waters of the state
  11. There shall be no unlimited access by livestock to waters of the state where high concentrations of animals prevent the maintenance of adequate sod or self-sustaining vegetative cover

FPP Conservation Standards (pdf)

New Standards taking effect in 2017 (Must be fully compliant by 2022)

       12. A 5-foot tillage setback exists by all surface waters.

       13.  All cropland and pasture areas average a phosphorus index of 6 or less over the accountying period and do not exceed   phosphorus index of 12 in any individual year within the accounting period.

       14.  There is no significant discharge of process wastewater to waters of the state from milk house waste and silage leachate. 

Existing participants need to meet these standards based on a 5-year schedule of compliance, and any new participants must demonstrate compliance with the conservation standards at the time when applying for the program. Participants under older long-term agreements (signed prior to July 1, 2009), must comply with the conservation standards that were in place when the long-term agreement application was submitted to the county.

For more information or clarification, contact the Dodge County Land and Water Conservation Department at 920-386-3660.

For answers to frequently asked tax credit questions, click the line below: