Working Lands Initiative

The Working Lands Initiative works to preserve farmland for future generations. Adopted in June 2009, the law includes two programs to allow landowners to permanently protect farmland: a Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement (PACE) grant program and the Agricultural Enterprise Area (AEA) program. Photo courtesy of Jessica Bolwahn.

Mar 22, 2013

Survey Reveals 3 Million Acres of Farmland Protected by Land Trusts Across the U.S.

New data from American Farmland Trust’s Farmland Information Center show that private land trusts across the U.S. have permanently protected 3 million acres of farm and ranch land. Approximately a quarter was saved in partnership with state and local purchase of agricultural conservation easement (PACE) programs.

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Mar 08, 2012

Rod Nilsestuen Legacy Event

Please join friends and colleagues for this first event honoring cooperative and conservation leader Rod Nilsestuen. March 30, 2012, marks the inaugural program of the Rod Nilsestuen Legacy Event at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. This inaugural event is held in honor of the late Rod Nilsestuen, secretary of the Department of Agriculture (Wisconsin) and a longtime leader in the national cooperative movement.

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Jun 30, 2011

Governor Signs State Budget

The state budget signed by Gov. Walker over the weekend did not include any partial vetoes related to the state Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement (PACE) Program. Therefore, the changes to the PACE Program voted on by the Legislature will now become law. The final version of the state budget also preserved other key elements of the Working Lands Initiative.

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May 19, 2011

Joint Finance Committee Votes on PACE

The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee voted 16-0 on Wednesday to retain the statutory authority for the statewide Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements (PACE) Program and to fund the first round of 16 PACE projects.

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May 16, 2011

Wisconsin Farmland ALERT—State Budget Update

The Joint Committee on Finance is set to take up the Working Lands Initiative on Wednesday, May 18. This may be our last chance to preserve a strong farmland protection program in Wisconsin. We need direct contact with lawmakers and the governor. Contacting members of Joint Finance now is extremely important. By next Wednesday, it will be too late.

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May 09, 2011

Wisconsin Farmland Protection ALERT:  PACE and the State Budget

People from across Wisconsin are voicing opposition to state budget proposal to eliminate the state's program to permanently protect farmland. We need your help to reach out to lawmakers and the governor with a simple message: Don't wreck Wisconsin's farmland protection program.

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Mar 10, 2011

Citizens Speak Up For PACE at DATCP Meeting

Farmers and other supporters of farmland protection in Wisconsin are asking the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the board that oversees it to advocate for keeping the state’s Working Lands Initiative intact.

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Feb 10, 2011

Proposed Bill Would Kill PACE, Conversion Fees

A bill (LRB-1135/2) being circulated for co-sponsors by state Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, and state Rep. Andre Jacque, R-Bellevue, seeks to eliminate both the Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement program and the conversion fee for having land rezoned out of a farmland preservation zoning district.

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Jan 24, 2011

“Making PACE Work for You” Webinar Recordings Now Available

Two webinars presented in January by Gathering Waters Conservancy, American Farmland Trust and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection ((DATCP) on Wisconsin’s Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements (PACE) program are now available as archived recordings.

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Jan 03, 2011

Winter 2011 PACE Workshops

Gathering Waters Conservancy will hold workshops focused on the new statewide Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement (PACE) program, as well as, the development of local PACE (or Purchase of Development Rights) programs.

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Aug 11, 2010

2010 PACE Applications Selected for Funding

More than 5,000 acres of farmland will remain in agriculture and will be protected by permanent easements as part of the first set of applications recommended for funding through the Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement (PACE) program.

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Aug 09, 2010

Wisconsin Farmland Preservation—News and Resources

Wisconsin's Working Lands Initiative is a legacy to the late Rod Nilsestuen, who died July 21, 2010. As Wisconsin's agricultural secretary, he made the Working Lands Initiative one of his major priorities. With respect to Rod and his legacy, the American Farmland Trust and Gathering Waters Conservancy are happy to report that Wisconsin's Working Lands Initiative is on the ground and running. Our partnership tracks the progress of WLI programs on our website at: www.wisconsinfarmland.org.

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