As of January 1, 2021 there were 43 AEAs in the state totaling 1,475,280 acres in 28 counties, covering portions of 119 towns and the Bad River Reservation. AEAs establish eligibility for owners of farmland to sign a voluntary farmland preservation agreement and cluster farmland preservation agreements to promote farmland protection. Landowners who choose to enroll all or a part of their farm in a farmland preservation agreement must meet the state soil and water conservation standards on their whole farm. Farmland preservation agreements have a minimum term of 15 years. AEAs are a foundation for collaboration between landowners, local governments and agricultural partners in the community. In 2021, 7 counties were awarded $197,500 to work on incentive programs in 10 AEAs around the state to promote participation and increase conservation implementation and nutrient management.
To be eligible, at least 5 or more owners of farmland, cooperating entities and local units of government must request designation for an contiguous area of land that has been planned for farmland preservation.
AEAs promote collaboration between landowners, local governments and other agricultural/conservation partners
Farmland preservation agreements provide a tool for landowners to preserve agricultural lands, implement conservation and establish eligibility for a tax credit
Clusters of farmland preservation agreements provide community agricultural protections.
Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) are competitive grants that drive public and private sector innovation in resource conservation. On-Farm Trials supports more widespread adoption of innovative approaches, practices, and systems on working lands.