In this chapter:
"Agricultural use" means beekeeping; commercial feedlots; dairying; egg production; floriculture; fish or fur farming; forest and game management; grazing; livestock raising; orchards; plant greenhouses and nurseries; poultry raising; raising of grain, grass, mint and seed crops; raising of fruits, nuts and berries; sod farming; placing land in federal programs in return for payments in kind; owning land, at least 35 acres of which is enrolled in the conservation reserve program under 16 USC 3831
; participating in the milk production termination program under 7 USC 1446
(d); and vegetable raising.
"Board" means the land and water conservation board.
"Department" means the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection.
"Develop" means change to any use other than agricultural use.
"Devoted primarily to agricultural use" means under agricultural use for at least 12 consecutive months during the preceding 36-month period.
"Eligible farmland" means a parcel of 35 or more acres of contiguous land which is devoted primarily to agricultural use, including land designated by the department of natural resources as part of the ice age trail under s. 23.17
, which during the year preceding application for a farmland preservation agreement produced gross farm profits, as defined in s. 71.58 (4)
, of not less than $6,000 or which, during the 3 years preceding application produced gross farm profits, as defined in s. 71.58 (4)
, of not less than $18,000, or a parcel of 35 or more acres of which at least 35 acres, during part or all of the year preceding application, were enrolled in the conservation reserve program under 16 USC 3831
"Farmland preservation agreement" or "transition area agreement" means a restrictive covenant, evidenced by an instrument whereby the owner and the state agree to hold jointly the right to develop the land except as may be expressly reserved in the instrument and which contains a covenant running with the land, for a term of years, not to develop except as expressly reserved in the instrument.
"Local governing body having jurisdiction" means the city council, village board or town board if that body has adopted a certified ordinance under subch. V
; or the county board where such a city, village or town zoning ordinance is not in effect.
"Owner" means a resident of this state owning land and includes an individual, legal guardian, corporation incorporated in this state, business trust, estate, trust, limited liability company, partnership or association or 2 or more persons having a joint or common interest in the land. However, where land is subject to a land contract, it means the vendor in agreement with the vendee.
"Use consistent with agricultural use" means any activity that meets all of the following conditions:
The activity will not convert land that has been devoted primarily to agricultural use.
The activity will not limit the surrounding land's potential for agricultural use.
The activity will not conflict with agricultural operations on the land subject to a farmland preservation agreement.
The activity will not conflict with agricultural operations on other properties.
All other departments and agencies of state government shall cooperate with the board and the department in the exchange of information concerning projects and activities, including takings under eminent domain, which might jeopardize the preservation of land contemplated by this chapter. The department shall periodically advise other departments and agencies of state government of the location and description of land upon which there exist farmland preservation agreements or zoning for exclusively agricultural use and the departments and agencies shall administer their planning and projects consistent with the purposes of this chapter.
History: 1977 c. 29
Preliminary agricultural areas delineation. 91.05(1)(1)
For the purpose of assisting local units of government to preserve agricultural lands, the department and the department of commerce, under standards prepared by the board, and in connection with other state agencies, counties and county land conservation committees shall prepare or cause to be prepared, maps that locate lands in the state which should be considered for preservation because of their agricultural significance.
Maps shall be prepared first for those portions of the state where the need for agricultural preservation is of the highest priority. Priority shall be based upon the degree of threat of agricultural alteration, loss to other usages, agricultural quality and agricultural importance.
Agricultural maps shall be prepared utilizing the best practicable method and shall be based upon data such as soil surveys, aerial photography interpretation, existing agricultural zoning and surveys and may be supplemented by on-site surveys and other studies.
The board shall review farmland preservation plans and exclusive agricultural use zoning ordinances submitted to it under ss. 91.61
and shall certify to the appropriate zoning authority whether the plans and ordinances meet the standards of subchs. IV
, respectively. Certifications may be in whole or in part.
History: 1977 c. 29
The board may prospectively revoke a certification if notice and opportunity to be heard are given to the local zoning authority and landowners. 74 Atty. Gen. 78
Rule-making authority. 91.07(1)
The department shall promulgate rules to implement this chapter, except those provisions relating to the powers and duties of the board.
The board shall promulgate rules to implement its powers and duties under this chapter.
History: 1991 a. 286
FARMLAND PRESERVATION AGREEMENTS
An owner may apply for a farmland preservation agreement under this subchapter if:
The county in which the land is located has a certified agricultural preservation plan in effect; or
The land is in an area zoned for exclusive agricultural use under an ordinance certified under subch. V
An owner of land located in a county with a population density of less than 100 persons per square mile which has adopted a certified exclusive agricultural use zoning ordinance may apply under this subchapter even if the town in which the land is located has not approved the ordinance.
In any county with a population density of 100 or more persons per square mile, an owner may apply for a farmland preservation agreement under this subchapter only if the county in which the land is located has a certified exclusive agricultural use zoning ordinance under subch. V
and the town in which the land is located has approved the ordinance.
Notwithstanding sub. (3)
, in any county with a population density of 100 or more persons per square mile, an owner may apply for a farmland preservation agreement under this subchapter from July 1, 1988, to June 30, 1991. Any owner who signed an agreement which was applied for under this subsection is eligible to apply for another agreement prior to the expiration of that agreement.
In any city, town or village that has adopted a certified exclusive agricultural use zoning ordinance under subch. V
, or in any town that has approved a certified exclusive agricultural use zoning ordinance adopted by the county under subch. V
, an owner may apply for a farmland preservation agreement only if the land is in an area zoned for exclusive agricultural use.
Farmland preservation agreements. 91.13(1)
Any owner of eligible farmlands who desires to have the lands covered by a farmland preservation agreement may apply to the county clerk by executing a form provided by the department. If an application is received by the county clerk on or after May 14, 1992, and it is not signed by all persons holding a recorded mortgage on the land to be covered by the agreement, the application is void and may not be processed by the county clerk. The application shall include a land survey or legal description of all eligible farmland to be covered under the agreement, a map showing significant natural features and all structures and physical improvements on the lands or an aerial photograph of all land which is an integral part of the owner's farming operation which is marked to indicate the farmland and structures to be covered by the agreement, the soil classification of the lands and such other data as the department deems reasonably necessary to determine the eligibility of the lands for coverage under the agreement.
Upon receipt of the application, the county clerk shall forward the application to the local governing body having jurisdiction, if not the county, and shall send written notification to the department, county planning and zoning agency, the regional planning commission and the county land conservation committee. If the county has jurisdiction, the clerk shall also notify the board of the town in which the land is situated. If the land is within the boundaries of an incorporated municipality or is subject to an extraterritorial zoning ordinance adopted by a municipality under s. 62.23 (7a)
, the clerk shall send written notification to the governing body of the city or village.
An agency or local governing body receiving written notice shall upon receipt of notification have 30 days to review, comment and make recommendations to the local governing body having jurisdiction.
After considering the comments and recommendations of the reviewing agencies and local governing bodies, the local governing body having jurisdiction shall approve or reject the application within 120 days after the application is received unless time is extended by mutual agreement of the parties involved. The local governing body's approval or rejection of the application shall be based upon and consistent with the following:
Whether the farmland is designated an agricultural preservation area in a certified agricultural preservation plan established under subch. IV
or is an area zoned for exclusive agricultural use under an ordinance certified under subch. V
The productivity and viability of the land for agricultural use.
The predominance of agricultural use on the land.
The inclusion of all contiguous lands which are in single ownership.
Whether the property is eligible farmland.
Consistency with the county agricultural preservation plan.
Other criteria established by the local governing body consistent with the agricultural preservation purposes of this chapter.
The clerk of the local governing body having jurisdiction shall forward a copy of all approved applications for farmland preservation agreements, along with the comments and recommendations of the reviewing bodies, to the department. If action is not taken by the local governing body within the time prescribed or agreed upon, the applicant may proceed as provided in sub. (7)
as if the application was rejected.
The department may reject an application for a farmland preservation agreement which has been approved by a local governing body only if the land is not eligible farmland.
If the application for a farmland preservation agreement is rejected by the local governing body or the department, the application shall be returned to the applicant with a written statement regarding the reasons for rejection. Within 30 days after receipt of the rejected application, the applicant may appeal the rejection to the board. The board shall, within 60 days after the appeal has been received, upon consideration of the factors listed in sub. (4) (a)
, approve or reject the application.
If an application is approved by the department or, on appeal, by the board, the department shall prepare and send to the applicant a farmland preservation agreement which shall include the following provisions:
Except as provided under s. 91.75 (2)
, no structure may be built on the land except for use consistent with agricultural use or with the approval of the local governing body having jurisdiction and the department.
Land improvements shall not be made except for use consistent with agricultural use or with the approval of the local governing body having jurisdiction and the department.
A structure or improvement made as an incident to a scenic, access or utility easement or license, a lease for oil and natural gas exploration and extraction, and an easement granted for the purpose of using land as, or land used as, part of the ice age trail under ss. 23.17
and structures and improvements made as an incident to that use or those easements, is consistent with agricultural use under pars. (a)
Farming operations shall be conducted in substantial accordance with a soil and water conservation plan prepared under s. 92.104
. This paragraph applies to any farmland preservation agreement applied for prior to July 1, 1986.
Farming operations shall be conducted in compliance with reasonable soil and water conservation standards established under s. 92.105
. This paragraph applies to a farmland preservation agreement applied for on or after July 1, 1986.
The state agrees to pay, with respect to each year the agreement is in effect, the greater of the credits claimable under subch. IX of ch. 71
, as such statute exists on the date the agreement takes effect, or the credits claimable under subch. IX of ch. 71
, as such statute exists at the end of the year for which a claim for credit is filed, if all the requirements of subch. IX of ch. 71
The department shall not require the owner to permit public access onto the land.
A statement in boldface uppercase type that contains the following language: "UPON RELINQUISHMENT (WITHDRAWAL OR EXPIRATION) OF THIS AGREEMENT, A PAYBACK OF CREDITS WITH INTEREST MAY BE REQUIRED."
Any other condition and restriction on the land as agreed to by the parties that is deemed necessary to preserve the land for agricultural use if it is not in conflict with the county agricultural preservation plan.
If the owner executes the farmland preservation agreement, the owner shall return it to the department for execution on behalf of the state. An agreement shall become effective on the date it is delivered or mailed to the department for execution. The department shall within 30 days of receipt record the executed agreement with the register of deeds of the county in which the land is situated and notify the applicant, the local governing body having jurisdiction, all reviewing agencies and the department of revenue.
Agreements under this subchapter shall be for not less than 10 years nor more than 25 years. An owner of eligible farmland which is subject to an agreement with a term of less than 25 years may extend the term of the agreement to 25 years with the approval of the department and of the local governing body having jurisdiction in which the eligible farmland is located.
An applicant may reapply for a farmland preservation agreement following a one-year waiting period from notice of final determination of the original application by the local governing body having jurisdiction, the department, the board or a court on appeal.
The value of the jointly owned development rights as expressed in a farmland preservation agreement shall not be exempt from general property taxation and shall be assessed to the owner of the land as part of the value of the land.
The department may waive its approval authority under sub. (8) (a)
for structures or improvements affecting less than 5 acres of land.
Transition area agreements.
An owner may apply for a transition area agreement under this subchapter if the farmland is located in an area identified as a transition area under a certified county agricultural preservation plan under subch. IV
. The provisions of this subchapter, except ss. 91.11 (1) (b)
, 91.13 (4) (a)
, apply to agreements under this section. Agreements under this section shall be for not less than 5 nor more than 20 years, consistent with the county agricultural preservation plan.
History: 1977 c. 29
Exemption from special assessments.
A city, village, town, county or other governmental agency may not impose special assessments for sanitary sewers, water, lights or nonfarm drainage on land zoned for exclusively agricultural use under subch. V
or for which a farmland preservation agreement under this subchapter has been recorded unless the assessments were imposed prior to the recording of the agreement or prior to zoning of the land for exclusively agricultural use under subch. V
. Land covered by this exemption shall be denied use of an improvement created by the special assessment as long as the owner of the land has a recorded agreement under this subchapter or the land is zoned for exclusively agricultural use under subch. V
, unless the owner has paid the amount that would have been paid had the land not been excluded.
History: 1977 c. 29
; 1983 a. 311
Change of ownership. 91.17(1)(1)
Land subject to a farmland preservation agreement may be sold without a lien being filed under s. 91.19
, subject to the reservation of rights contained in the agreement. The seller shall notify the department of any such transfer. The purchaser shall be liable under any subsequent lien under s. 91.19
only for the amount of tax credits paid on that portion of the land purchased.
When the owner of land subject to a farmland preservation agreement dies or is certified by a physician to be totally and permanently disabled, the land may be released from the program under this chapter and shall not be subject to a lien under s. 91.19 (8)
A residence or structure located on a parcel of 5 acres or less which is subject to an agreement and which, for purposes of farm consolidation and in compliance with the ordinances of the city, village or town and county in which it is located, is separated from other land subject to that agreement is not subject to a lien under s. 91.19
when that agreement expires if the residence or structure existed prior to the effective date of that agreement.
Relinquishment of agreements. 91.19(1)
A farmland preservation agreement shall be relinquished by the department on behalf of the state at the expiration of the term of the agreement.
Upon request, a farmland preservation agreement shall be relinquished by the department on behalf of the state when the owner of land subject to the agreement dies or is certified by a physician to be totally and permanently disabled.
The department may relinquish the farmland preservation agreement or may release part of the land from a farmland preservation agreement prior to the termination date contained in the instrument as follows:
The owner of the land may submit an application, on forms prescribed by the department, to the local governing body having jurisdiction requesting that the agreement be relinquished or that part of the land be released from the agreement. Upon receipt of the application, the clerk of the local governing body shall send written notification thereof to the persons specified under s. 91.13 (2)
, and such persons shall have 30 days from receipt of notification to review, comment and make recommendations to the local governing body having jurisdiction.