Farmland Preservation Bill Passes State Senate

The Wisconsin State Senate passed the bipartisan farmland preservation program bill (2023 Senate Bill 134). Senator Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit), a lead author of the proposal, released the following statement:  

“I am very proud and grateful that our farmland preservation program bill passed the State Senate with strong bipartisan support today. The Land Conservation staff in Rock County first brought this issue to my attention in 2019, and I have been working with my colleagues over the last two legislative sessions to pass it through the legislature.

“SB 134 is a bipartisan bill that will maintain and increase participation in our state’s farmland preservation program, which incentivizes farmers to keep their land in agricultural use and protects our state’s soil and water by requiring conservation standards. The farmland preservation program is an important and successful resource for our agriculture and environment, but unfortunately enrollment has declined over time.

“This important bill addresses the two top issues named by Wisconsin farmers that prevent them from participating in the farmland preservation program: it increases the farmland preservation tax credit amounts for the first time since 2009, and will allow greater flexibility for farmers by decreasing the length of farmland preservation agreement contracts. The bill also requires the Department of Agriculture, Trade, & Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the legislature to regularly review the program and tax credit amounts to ensure that the program meets the needs of Wisconsin farmers into the future.

“I am deeply grateful to the bipartisan coalition of legislators, agriculture and conservation groups, and farmers that have worked together to support this bill. I am very proud that SB 134 passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support, and I hope it receives a vote in the State Assembly soon.”