Farmland Preservation Program

This is a quick overview of the Wisconsin Farmland Preservation Program. If you are interested or have any questions about this program, please call the Winnebago County Land and Water Conservation Department.

 

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What is the Farmland Preservation Program?

The purpose of the program is to help local governments that want to preserve farmland through local planning and zoning, and to provide tax relief to farmers who participate.  Farmers can qualify for tax relief if they sign a contract agreeing to keep the land in agriculture and by complying with conservation standards.

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Who is Eligible?

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Acres claimed must be located in a farmalnd preservation area identified in a certified county farmland preservation plan.  Eligible land includes agricultural land or permanent undeveloped natrual resource areas or open space land that is in an area certified for farmland preservation zoning, and/or located in a designated agricultural enterprise area and under a farmland preservation agreement.
  2. Claimants must have $6,000 in gross farm revenue in the past year or $18,000 in the past three years.  Income from rental receipts of farm acres does not count toward gross farm revenue.  However, gross farm revenue produced by the renter on the landowner's farmland can be used to meet this eligibility requirement.
  3. Claimants must be able to certify that all property taxes owed from the previous year have been paid.
  4. Farmers claiming farmland preservation tax credits must certify on their tax form that they comply with state soil and water conservation standards.  New claimants must also submit a certification of compliance with soil and water conservation standards that has been issued by the county land conservation committee.

Individual

  • Must be farm owner
  • Must be resident of Wisconsin

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What are the Zoning Provisions?

Benefits

  • Landowner is made eligible for a State income tax credit.
  • Landowner is protected from special assessments (such as sewer or water utilities).
  • Conflicting non-farm uses cannot occur nearby unless the land is rezoned.

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Tax Credits

Eligible landowners may collect one of the following per acre amounts by filing Schedule FC-A with their income tax return:

  • $5.00 for farmers with a farmland preservation agreement signed after July 1, 2009 and located in an agricultural enterprise area
  • $7.50 for farmers in an area zoned for farmland preservation

There is no cap on the amount of credit that an individual can claim or on the amount of acreage eligible for a credit.

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Ceasing Program Participation

Rezoning land:  Land may be rezoned out of farmland preservation for another use without penalty after the local government makes the following findings at a public hearing:

  • The land is better suited for a use not allowed in the farmland preservation zoning district.
  • The rezoning is consistent with any applicable comprehensive plan.
  • The rezoning is substantially consistent with the county certified farmland preservation plans.
  • The rezoning will not substantially impair or limit current or future agricultural use of surrounding parcels of land that are zoned for or legally restricted to agricultural use.

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