Wis. governor proposes new program to save farms
By M.L. JOHNSON Associated Press Writer
9:50 AM CDT, March 31, 2009
MILWAUKEE - Gov. Jim Doyle has proposed the state buy development rights to some agricultural property as a way to stop developers from gobbling up Wisconsin farms.
The proposal also would give some farmers money to invest in their farms if Doyle's two-year budget plan is approved by the Legislature.
Wisconsin and the nation have lost farmland to suburban sprawl for decades. The state has less than 15.2 million acres of farmland, according to the 2007 Census of Agriculture.
That's 500,000 acres less than it had in 2002 and about 3.4 million less than in 1977, according to National Agricultural Statistics Service estimates.
The loss mirrors what is happening nationwide. The U.S. had 922 million acres of farmland in 2007, about 100 million less than existed three decades ago. Read More
The availability of farmland shouldn’t just be a concern for farmers, it should be a concern of everyone that eat on a regular basis. Many states already have programs in place for farmland preservation. Because of development pressures, farmland is disappearing quite rapidly. There are many options that need to be considered to accomplish this.