Created in 1977, Wisconsin's Farmland Preservation Program is designed to identify and protect agricultural areas against unplanned development. The goals of the program are to preserve agricultural land and open spaces by promoting orderly land-use planning and development, to conserve soil and water, and to provide tax relief to farmers enrolled in the program. At the time of the program's inception, Wisconsin was considered a national leader in farmland preservation efforts. However, land use pressures and impacts have changed dramatically since then. Unfortunately, the approach to farmland preservation had not changed by the beginning of the 21st century.
Farmland Preservation today in Wisconsin is, and needs to be, different than what was envisioned 30 years ago. Land prices have more than quadrupled, bank lending has tightened, and technology has changed. However, some of the same challenges remain for the agricultural producer: severe weather extremes; rising health care costs; fluctuating commodity prices; rising costs of fuel, fertilizers and herbicides; and difficulty finding labor can all lead to difficulty in maintaining a competitive industry in today's market.
The development of an Farmland Preservation Plan is Eau Claire County's opportunity to focus on this important component of our local and state economy and to help decide what its future may be. The following information is intended to provide additional information relating to the Farmland Preservation Program, the agricultural industry as it relates to our local economies, and the conversion of productive lands to other land uses.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION & RESOURCES
The Working Lands Initiative (WLI)
Guide for Developing County Farmland Preservation Plans - DATCP 2011
Wisconsin Working Lands Initiative - Final Report August 2006
The Wisconsin Working Lands Initiative - Questions and Answers
Working Lands Initiative (WLI) Quick Fact Sheet
Transitioning from the Farmland Preservation Program to the Working Lands Initiative - Comparison
Understanding Agricultural Enterprise Areas (AEA's)
Land Use in Farmland Preservation Zoning Districts
Minimum Standards for Non-Farm Residences in Farmland Pres. Zoning Districts