New bill if signed will help farmers save their land and increase their tax credits

Wisconsin Farmland Preservation Program
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 7:38 PM CST
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ATHENS, Wis. (WSAW) - A bi-partisan bill that is awaiting Governor Tony Evers’ signature aims to preserve farmland.

It essentially allows farmers to keep farming. Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) says over the years Wisconsin farmers have lost lots of land and not a lot of people have been talking about it until now.

“This is a program that has not been updated for a number of years, which is troubling because since 2010 Wisconsin has lost nearly a million acres of farmland here in the state of Wisconsin,” Sen. Testin stated.

The Wisconsin Farmland Preservation Program has always looked to help out farmers, but Sen. Testin said even with that extra help farmers are still in crisis.

“Inflationary costs that they are dealing with, regular burdens that they are dealing with, and the fact that it’s tough work, and when you take a look at our demographics here in the state of Wisconsin, it’s not getting any younger by any means. So that next generation isn’t there at the volume we’ve seen in previous generations,” said Sen. Testin.

The bill lowers the length of time for a farmland preservation agreement from 15 years to 10 years. It would also increase various farmland preservation tax credits. Miltrim Farms Co-Owner and General Manager David Trimner believes this is a good thing.

“It will further incentivize land owners to keep their land in farm use, in agriculture versus converting it into something like solar panels or some other industrialization,” Trimner said.

To keep Wisconsin at the top of its agricultural game, Trimner said they have to do what they do best.

“We’re one of the largest dairy states in the nation,” he stated. “We have great crop production as well. It’s really important to the Wisconsin economy. I want to say it provides just over 2 billion dollars.”

Trimner said the more people talk about the agriculture industry the better we can make it for farmers. The bill is set to be sent to Gov. Ever’s desk on Nov. 30.