Farmland Preservation Planning

As required by law, the Washington County's updated Farmland Preservation Plan must be adopted by the Washington County Board of Supervisors and certified by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

Click the links below to view final draft plan chapters.

Chapter Number Title
Cover, Title Pages, and Table of Contents
I. Introduction and Background
II. Population, Housing, and Employment Trends and Projections
III. Existing Recommendations for Farmland Preservation in Washington County
IV. Inventory of Agricultural Resources
V. Trends, Needs, or Plans that May Affect Farmland Preservation
VI. Preserving and Supporting Farmland Preservation
VII. Issue Identification, Farmland Preservation Areas and Recommendations
VIII. Implementation
Attachments A-H

Warning: Some of these links will open very large documents, and may take quite some time to download.

Copies of the Farmland Preservation Plan or Executive Summary can also be obtained at the office of the Washington County Planning and Parks Department (333 E. Washington Street) West Bend, WI 53095) or by calling (262) 335-4445.

A Farmland Preservation Plan Advisory Committee (FPPAC) was formed to guide the plan's development. The Washington County Planning and Parks Department invited all local governments to appoint a representative to serve on the committee. The FPP delineates Farmland Preservation Areas (FPAs) throughout Washington County. An FPA is an area that is planned primarily for agriculture use or agriculture-related use. For a landowner to be eligible for tax credits (through farmland preservation zoning or Agricultural Enterprise Areas) or to enter the PACE program, lands must first be located in a Farmland Preservation Area in a certified county farmland preservation plan.

The Farmland Preservation Plan:

  • Provides information on the Working Lands Initiative
  • Explains the statutory requirements of farmland preservation planning
  • Details an inventory of agricultural resources and infrastructure
  • Describes the trends that impact farmland preservation
  • Highlights ways to preserve farmland and support agriculture
  • Identifies farmland preservation areas (FPAs)
  • Recommends new and updated County goals, objectives, policies and programs for farmland preservation

Please visit the following links for more information regarding farmland preservation planning in Washington County and the Working Lands Initiative.

Farmland Preservation Focus Group Sessions
The Planning and Parks Department requested UW-Extension to conduct a series of agricultural related focus groups. On January 25, 2011, a focus group study was conducted which consisted of three focus group discussions. The groups consisted of 1) livestock and dairy producers, 2) grain farmers, and 3) niche/organic farmers. The general topic was "How do we make agriculture more sustainable in Washington County?" See the following link for a report of focus group findings:

Focus Group Final Report

Farmland Preservation Survey

Farmland Preservation Survey

As the Planning Division updates the County Farmland Preservation Plan, it requested UW-Extension to develop a survey to seek input from farmers and large landowners. This is critical, because a plan that includes feedback from stakeholders is stronger and more likely to be implemented. The survey was mailed to 1,954 land owners in the County's rural communities. Three hundred forty-four were returned, for a respectable 17% response rate. Key results are summarized below:

  • 32% were interested in tax credits for preserving their farmland; 28% were not. Thirty-five percent responded "not sure."
    (A follow-up focus group has looked at reasons for lack of interest or certainty.)
  • A substantial 78% responded that all or most of the Ag infrastructure they need is close enough to their operation.
  • When asked to identify issues hindering their farming activities, respondents chose "traffic" and "loss of prime farmlands" as their two biggest concerns.
Complete survey results can be found below. Each town and village was tabulated individually as well. Below are links to the summaries for each rural town or village. Each file is PDF.




Other Resources