This year, DATCP designated more than 61,000 acres in Buffalo and Douglas counties as agricultural enterprise areas. With these additions, the state now has 45 AEAs totaling more than 1.5 million acres located in parts of 126 towns and 30 counties, including the Bad River Reservation.
AEA designations support local farmland protection goals, the ag economy, environmental efforts and rural prosperity, according to DATCP. Landowners within designated AEAs are eligible to enter into voluntary farmland preservation agreements committing all or a portion of their farm to agricultural use and maintaining state soil and water conservation standards. In return, they may be eligible to claim the annual farmland preservation tax credit.
The 2022 AEAs are:
Northern Douglas County AEA — Includes more than 32,000 acres in the towns of Parkland, Amnicon, Cloverland, Lakeside, Maple, and the Village of Poplar.
Local governments and partners joined 12 landowners to petition for designation of this AEA. This is the first AEA in Douglas County and the first eligible area for the county’s landowners to participate in the Farmland Preservation Program since the program was updated in 2009. Petitioners in this AEA hope to promote a diverse agricultural community and provide opportunities for farmers and non-farming landowners to build relationships.
Local contact: Ashley Vande Voort, land conservationist, (715) 395-1266
Montana Society for Responsible Land Use AEA — Includes more than 29,000 acres in the Town of Montana. Local government and partners joined 29 landowners to petition for designation of Buffalo County’s first AEA.
Petitioners hope to empower farmers and landowners to access conservation tools and programs supporting farm profitability and community conservation.
Local contact: Cale Severson, county conservationist, (608) 685-6262
Local communities can voluntarily pursue designation of an AEA by submitting a petition to DATCP. Through this designation, the community can encourage continued agricultural production and investment in the agricultural economy.