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Petitions to designate new and to modify existing agricultural-enterprise areas are being accepted until June 19 by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The designation provides tools to support farmland protection, conservation and local farm economies. To qualify at least five landowners and their local governments must file a petition jointly.

An agricultural-enterprise area establishes an option for landowners to sign a farmland-preservation agreement. Agreements provide protections for certain uses of local lands while allowing landowners an opportunity to claim a farmland-preservation tax credit. Agricultural-enterprise areas also provide an opportunity to reinforce future land-use goals and preserve agricultural land, soil and water resources, according to the agency. Interested landowners should contact their local government or county land-conservation department to begin the petition process.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has authority to designate as many as 2 million acres for agricultural-enterprise areas. As of January 1 Wisconsin has 40 such designations with about 1.4 million acres in 112 towns, 27 counties and the Bad River Reservation. Visit datcp.wi.gov and search  for "agricultural enterprise area program" and datcp.wi.gov and search for "agricultural enterprise area petition" or contact datcpworkinglands@wisconsin.gov or 608-224-4611 for more information.

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