The latest edition of WI Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's newsletter- “Working Lands Connection”, is now available. It has info on the Farmland Preservation Program biennial report, a Rezone Report reminder, an ATCP 49 update, ATCP 50 update, AEA update, tax credit Information, upcoming speaking events and more.
The Agricultural Act of 2014 is now law, so what exactly does that mean for farmland conservation? What does it mean for land trusts? American Farmland Trust and the Land Trust Alliance are providing opportunities to learn about the new Farm Bill and how program changes will impact land trusts and farmland protection efforts.
Focusing on the belief that a strong community connection with agriculture is integral to our economic health, retaining our heritage and quality of life, and living sustainably, a land trust in Michigan called the Leelanau Conservancy designed and launched FarmAbility in 2009. This program connects the land trust with farmers, leading them down the path to permanent land protection.
Advice from Matt Zoshke, an organizer of Wisconsin’s largest agricultural enterprise area (AEA): Be willing to work with the farmers in your area and understand their concerns. That and a lot of cooperative, creativity and hard work went into establishment of the Heart of America’s Dairyland AEA in Clark and Marathon counties. It also didn’t hurt that Zoshke, the Clark County conservationist, has a farm background and is well-known in the agriculture community.