Farmland Preservation Plan

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).

Farm Equipment

A Farmland Preservation Plan for Washington County 2014

 Executive Summary - A Farmland Preservation Plan for Washington County

Click the links below to view final draft plan chapters.


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

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

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?"

Focus Group Final Report

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.

Landowner Responses to Farmland Preservation Survey

Each Township and Village was tabulated individually as well.