The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is now accepting petitions for Agricultural Enterprise Areas that would be designated in 2016.
Agricultural enterprise areas, or AEAs, are blocks of land that are primarily in agricultural use for farming and for businesses that serve the farming sector. They are created when at least five landowners and their local government’s petition for an AEA designation and the department approves the petition.
AEA designation does not limit land use within the area or protect it from development. It does allow farmers within the AEA to receive tax credits of $5 to $10 per acre if they enter into farmland preservation agreements with the department. The designation can also be used with local planning and zoning, conservation easements, agriculture economic development incentives, and other tools to support farming and the local farm economy.
“AEAs are a tool to help preserve and build rural communities. They allow for a broad range of actions that local governments can take to maintain a farming base for their economies,” says John Petty, Administrator of DATCP’s Agricultural Resource Management Division, which houses the AEA program.
Petty encouraged petitioners to involve their communities in the petition process to be sure they have support.
Petition materials, including detailed instructions and petition forms, are available here by searching for “petition materials.” Petitions are due April 29, 2016, and must be completed jointly by local landowners and local government officials.
When AEAs designated this year take effect on Jan. 1, Wisconsin will have 31 AEAs totaling 1.01 million acres in 23 counties, 92 towns, and the Bad River Reservation.


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