Madison (AP) — A new program designed to preserve Wisconsin farmland by offering tax incentives is open for business.
The state Agriculture Department says it is accepting requests from farmers and local governments to have land designated as an agriculture enterprise area.
The request requires at least five eligible farmers and support from all local governments within the proposed zone.
Once approved, farmers would sign a preservation agreement to claim a state tax credit and to possibly sell development rights to the state.
The deadline for the first round of requests is February. Ag Secretary Rod Nilsestuen says the goal is 200,000 acres approved by January 2012.
Farm statistics show Wisconsin has about 15 million acres of farmland — down 3.4 million acres from 1977, mostly from urban sprawl.