Notice of Hearing
Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) announces that it will hold a public hearing on a rule revising Chapter ATCP 53
designating 5 new agricultural enterprise areas (AEAs) encompassing a total of approximately 140,000 acres pursuant to s. 91.84
, Stats. An AEA is a contiguous land area, devoted primarily to agricultural use, which is locally targeted for agricultural preservation and agricultural development.
DATCP will hold one public hearing at the time and location shown below.
Date: Monday, December 12, 2011
Time: 4:00-6:00 P.M.
Location: Department of Agriculture, Trade and
2811 Agriculture Drive
Madison, WI 53714
Hearing impaired persons may request an interpreter for these hearings. Please make reservations for a hearing interpreter by December 5, 2011
by contacting Coreen Fallat, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Division of Agricultural Resource Management, P.O. Box 8911, Madison, WI 53708-8911, firstname.lastname@example.org
, telephone (608) 224-4625. Alternatively, you may contact the DATCP TDD at (608) 224-5058. Handicap access is available at the hearings.
Appearances at the Hearing and Submittal of Written Comments
To provide comments or concerns relating to small business, you may also contact DATCP's small business regulatory coordinator Keeley Moll at the address above, or by emailing to Keeley.Moll@wisconsin.gov
or by telephone at (608) 224-5039.
Copies of Proposed Rule
You may obtain free copies of the proposed rule by contacting the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Division of Agricultural Resource Management, 2811 Agriculture Drive, Attention Coreen Fallat, Madison, WI 53708. You may also obtain copies by calling (608) 224-4625 or emailing DATCPWorkingLands@wisconsin.gov
. Copies will also be available at the hearing. To view the proposed rule online, go to: https://health.wisconsin.gov/admrules/public/Home
Analysis Prepared by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
This rule designates agricultural enterprise areas (AEAs) pursuant to s. 91.84
, Stats. An AEA is a contiguous land area, devoted primarily to agricultural use, which is locally targeted for agricultural preservation and agricultural development. Based upon evaluation of petitions submitted in February 2011, this rule will designate five additional designated AEAs. The five additional AEAs designated by this rule encompass just over 140,000 acres and include land in four counties and 12 towns (some of the AEAs cross town lines). Following promulgation of this rule, 17 areas, totaling approximately 340,000 acres in 14 counties and 39 towns, will be designated as AEAs in Wisconsin.
The designation of an AEA does not control or restrict land use. However, the owners of farms located within an AEA may enter into voluntary 15-year farmland preservation agreements with DATCP. That enables them to claim farmland preservation tax credits under s. 71.613
Explanation of agency authority
Under s. 91.84 (1)
, Stats., DATCP may designate AEAs, encompassing a total of not more than 1,000,000 acres. Under s. 91.84 (2)
, the department may use the procedure under s. 227.24
to promulgate a rule designating an agricultural enterprise area or modifying or terminating the designation of an agricultural enterprise area. Notwithstanding s. 227.24 (1) (c)
, a rule promulgated under that subsection remains in effect until the department modifies or repeals the rule. Notwithstanding s. 227.24 (1) (a)
, the department is not required to determine that promulgating a rule under that subsection as an emergency rule is necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health, safety, or welfare and is not required to provide a finding of emergency for a rule promulgated under that subsection.
DATCP may designate AEAs in response to local petitions under s. 91.86
, Stats. Each petition must be signed by at least 5 farmers within the AEA. Affected county and local governments must pass a resolution in support of the petition requesting the designation. Other persons may sign in support of a petition.
Related statute or rule
Owners of farms located within an AEA may enter into voluntary 15-year farmland preservation agreements with DATCP, pursuant to s. 91.60
, Stats. Those farmers may claim farmland preservation tax credits under s. 71.613
, Stats. Tax credits are higher for farms that are also covered by a certified farmland preservation zoning ordinance under subch. III of ch. 91
, Stats. An owner of a farm located within an AEA may enter into a farmland preservation agreement, regardless of whether the farm owner signed the petition requesting designation of the AEA.
Based upon the evaluation of petitions submitted in 2011, this rule designates five additional AEAs, totaling just over 140,000 acres, in the locations described. With designation of the five new areas, there will be 17 AEAs totaling approximately 340,000 acres around the state. Maps and associated tax parcel numbers describing the AEAs are available at http://workinglands.wi.gov
. The maps will be published with this rule in the Wisconsin administrative register. Hard copies of the maps are on file with the legislative reference bureau. Hard copies of the maps and associated tax parcel numbers are on file with DATCP and may be obtained by contacting DATCP at the contact address shown below.
AEA Location (County and Town)
Dodge County, Town of Burnett
Sauk County, Town of Fairfield
Heart of America's Dairyland AEA
Clark County, Towns of Mayville, Colby, Unity, Beaver, Loyal
Hilbert Ag Land on Track AEA
Calumet County, Towns of Brillion, Chilton, Rantoul, Woodville
Dodge County, Town of Trenton
Considerations for small businesses
There are two main types of small businesses that may be affected by promulgation of this rule; farm businesses and farm-related businesses. However, this rule does not have a direct impact on businesses and imposes no new mandates on small business as defined by s. 227.114 (1) (a)
, Stats. (farmland preservation agreements are entirely voluntary). This rule is not subject to the small business delayed effective date under s. 227.22 (2) (e)
The designation of the agricultural enterprise areas enables eligible landowners owning land in a designated AEA to voluntarily enter into a farmland preservation agreement with the State of Wisconsin. Additional local programs may also be adopted or made available to businesses in these designated areas. As a result, the designation of AEAs through ATCP 53, Wis. Adm. Code has the potential to affect businesses, specifically farmers. Most of the affected farmers will meet the description of small business in Wisconsin, as defined by s. 227.114 (1) (a)
The greatest small business impact of the designation will be a farmer's ability to enter into a voluntary farmland preservation agreement to claim income tax credits under s. 71.613
, Stats., in return for keeping land in agricultural use for at least 15 years and implementing soil and water conservation practices.
The available tax credit for eligible farmers is at least $5 an acre, although farmers located in designated areas that are also certified for farmland preservation zoning may claim $10 an acre. The average farm size in Wisconsin is 195 acres, which would enable an average-sized farmer to claim an average of $975 to $1,950 annually, depending on the available tax credit. The costs for implementing soil and water conservation practices will vary from farm to farm, depending upon the type of operation and existing compliance status. The costs to implement these practices will be offset by the farmland preservation tax credit.
In addition to establishing eligibility for tax credits, designation of an AEA may also foster agricultural investment, and promote collaborative working relationships among landowners, agriculture-related businesses and local governments. It may also promote a more secure and attractive climate for the continuation of agricultural land-use and focused agriculture-related investment. Local government and other organizations may also develop other local programs that target resources to farmers in a designated area.
Other businesses that may benefit from designation of the AEA are farm-related businesses. The designation may create a more stable agricultural industry in the area, maintaining or increasing business transactions and promoting future agricultural-related investment. These businesses may include food processing and farm supply companies, nutrient management planners, soil testing laboratories, agricultural engineers, construction contractors, food processors, testing laboratories, and agri-tourism interests located within and near the designated area. Some of these businesses may be small businesses in Wisconsin, as defined by s. 227.114 (1) (a)
DATCP's small business regulatory coordinator is Keeley Moll at the address above. Email Keeley.Moll@wisconsin.gov
. Telephone (608) 224-5039.
Comparison to federal and surrounding state programs
There are no federal programs comparable to the AEA program implemented by this rule. Over 15 states have “agricultural district" programs that bear some resemblance to the AEA program implemented by this rule, including the neighboring states of Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. However, each of those state programs has its own unique features.
None of the programs in other states is exactly comparable to the AEA program implemented by this rule, and some are more comparable to Wisconsin's farmland preservation zoning program. Some include limits on non-farm development, local planning requirements, right-to-farm protection, rewards for conservation practices, per acre property tax credits, and eligibility for participation in a conservation easement program.
Summary of factual data and analytical methodologies
DATCP evaluated AEA petitions in consultation with a panel that included independent reviewers. DATCP and the reviewers considered factors identified in ss. 91.84
, Stats., as well as a variety of other factors identified in the petition forms. Petitioners were invited to submit, and did submit, extensive data and information to support their petitions.
Eligible landowners located within the designated agricultural enterprise areas may voluntarily enter into farmland preservation agreements with the state. These agreements are signed by DATCP, and allow the landowner to claim tax credits paid by the Department of Revenue (DOR). Although promulgating this rule will not cost the department additional funds, the DOR will pay tax credits equal to $5.00 per acre if the land is only subject to the agreement, and pay $10 per acre if the land is subject to an agreement and covered by a certified farmland preservation zoning ordinance. The $10 per acre tax credit is a $2.50 per acre increase over the $7.50 per acre credit available to a landowner under a certified farmland preservation zoning ordinance under the new ch. 91
, Stats. The $7.50 per acre credit does not require an agreement and would not be affected by promulgation of this rule. Landowners must meet conservation standards to claim the income tax credit, which may require some costs to ensure these standards are met. Overall, however, the rule is anticipated to have positive long-range fiscal implications for farmer owners and potentially indirectly for businesses that depend upon agriculture.
Following promulgation of this rule, the 5 areas totaling nearly 141,000 acres will be located within designated agricultural enterprise areas and eligible for farmland preservation agreements with the state, with nearly 50% of this land also covered by farmland preservation zoning. If we assume that 50% of the eligible landowners within an area covered by farmland preservation zoning enter into an agreement to claim the $10/acre credit, that is $355,000 in tax credits to small businesses. In addition, if 50% of the remaining landowners in the designated areas (not covered by zoning) enter into an agreement to claim the $5/acre credit, that is $175,000 in tax credits to those small businesses. It is anticipated that this additional $530,000 in tax credits will support and encourage robust rural economies that make up Wisconsin's $59 billion agricultural industry.
This rule, by itself, does not have a direct impact on the environment. This rule enables eligible farmers to enter into voluntary farmland preservation agreements with the state. Those agreements will have a positive effect on the environment by preserving agricultural land and promoting compliance with state soil and water standards.
This rule is not a “major action significantly affecting the quality of the environment," for purposes of s. 1.11
, Stats. No environmental impact statement is required under s. 1.11
, Stats. or ch. ATCP 3
, Wis. Adm. Code.
Questions, comments, and requests for maps or associated tax parcel numbers related to AEAs designated by this rule may be directed to:
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
P.O. Box 8911
Madison, WI 53708-8911
Telephone (608) 224-4625
Notice of Hearing
Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) announces that it will hold public hearings on a proposed rule revising Chapters ATCP 10
, and 15
, relating to animal health and disease control, and human officer training.