DATCP Reminds Farmers
of Income Tax Credits
If your land is zoned under Farmland Preservation, be sure you or your tax preparer use the appropriate tax forms when claiming income tax credits. The Department's analysis of recent data collected by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue shows that some Wisconsin landowners are under-claiming their Farmland Preservation tax credits at an average rate of about $3 per acre or almost $1 million total. Farmers are eligible for Wisconsin income tax credits in exchange for keeping land in agricultural use and
complying with state soil and water conservation requirements. Preliminary data from the Department of Revenue indicates that more than 15,000 farmland owners collected over $19 million in farmland preservation tax credits in tax year 2011 on about 2.8 million acres of farmland.
Keith Foye, land management chief with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection estimated that the largest under-claim of tax credits occurred in Dane County, with more than 500 farmers under-claiming. Other counties with significant under-claims are Rock, Jefferson, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, Iowa, Brown, Columbia, Manitowoc, and to a lesser degree in Walworth, La Crosse, Outagamie, and Ozaukee Counties. It is estimated that more than 2,000 farmland owners statewide under-claimed their farmland preservation tax credits on over 300,000 acres of farmland.
Welcome to this focus on agriculture, our way of informing our thousands of farm members about issues critical to the growth and health of Wisconsin's number one industry. Wisconsin Property Taxpayers has been working to reduce and reform the State's antiquated property tax system for all residential, commercial and agricultural properties since 1985. We worked to convince the state legislature to assess farmland on the basis of its value for farming, not on what some speculator would pay to develop it for other uses. We also worked to take 2/3 of the school costs off the property tax. We continue to fight to restore 2/3 state school funding. We have also been fighting to eliminate the personal property tax on farm personal property. We believe that no business should pay taxes on the property they need to make a living. And we believe that the more we know about the changing farm economy and public agricultural polices, the better we will be equipped to prosper and grow our farming industry.
I don't believe there is any question that when God created Wisconsin, he had our nations food supply in mind. We are so richly blessed with the finest ground and water on our planet. The quality of our ground and water is why everything grown in Wisconsin taste so good and is so good for us. Even our beer is better! We need to protect this land from excessive taxation and regulation, so it can continue to grow abundantly our nations food. However, big doesn't mean better. There's a place for corporate farming in our state, but the big producer has a big responsibility when it comes to practicing safe farming.
WPT is not about creating a controversy about who's cows produce better milk or more of it. What we are about is creating an environment that promotes and nurtures a strong agriculture policy in Wisconsin that recognizes the value of all kinds of farming. We grow the best cranberries in the world in Wisconsin. Potatoes, who needs Idaho? The orchards produce some of the finest fruits in the US. The corn and alfalfa we grow to feed our cows is why the milk produced in Wisconsin tastes better. We need to continue to take great care of our land and water.
There's also a place for organics in Wisconsin. Why? Because there's a consumer who wants it. There's also a place for small family farms in Wisconsin. Why? Because not everyone wants to work for someone else, and they shouldn't have to. There's also a place for corporate farms in Wisconsin. Why? Because we have a lot of people to feed, and we are blessed with the resources to do so.
What matters most to WPT is the continuation of an Agriculture policy that is responsible, but not excessive to the extent that Wisconsin's cost of production is cost prohibitive. Taxes are a big part of the cost of inputs. We need to preserve land use on farm land. Preserve sales tax exemptions. Not because we desire to give tax breaks to farmers, but because we want to continue an agriculture economy that last year generated 60 billion $$, almost 25% of Wisconsin's GDP, and besides higher taxes on farmers means higher food costs at the grocery store.
Let's continue to enjoy the best food in the world by supporting our agriculture community through tax benefits that sustains affordable food.
The Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Forestry, Mining, and Revenue will hold a public hearing at the state Capitol on January 23, 2013 on Senate Bill 1, relating to regulation of ferrous metallic mining and related activities, procedures for obtaining approvals from the Department of Natural Resources for the construction of utility facilities, making an appropriation, and providing penalties.
WisEye.org January 23, 2013 Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Forestry, Mining, and Revenue
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30X20 Program Designed To
Increase Dairy Production
WPT urges dairy farmers interested in increasing their production to consider signing up for the 30X20 program described below.
Dairy 30x20 Initiative to Grow Wisconsin Dairy
Wisconsin dairy farmers only produce approximately 90% of the milk volume needed by the state’s dairy processors. Wisconsin’s milk production grew less than 1% in 2011 to 26.1 billion pounds, which is not on pace to meet the future demands of the state’s growing processing industry.
Dairy 30x20 will help secure a strong future for Wisconsin dairy farmers that will allow our state’s dairy industry to maintain our diversity and initiative.
Goal of Dairy 30x20
Improve the long-term viability of Wisconsin’s dairy industry through services to achieve an annual milk production of 30 billion pounds by 2020 to meet the growing demand of the marketplace.
Objectives to Achieve Dairy 30x20
Provide assistance to dairy farmers, without regard to size or type, focusing on long-term, sustained operation through a client based service delivery system that utilizes a multi-agency, private-public network for services and referrals. Improve profitability through management and operational system changes, business and legal structure, and herd health and milk production.
Beginning farmer assistance
Foundation of the Dairy 30x20 Initiative Wis. Act 32 provided an annual appropriation of $200,000 of the former Dairy 2020 program funding to DATCP following the disbanding of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel convened dairy discussions with industry leaders from across the state to better understand the needs and demands of our farmers and processors. Suggestions from these discussions formed the priorities and services model of Dairy 30x20.
Organizations included in the discussion were the Dairy Business Association, Cooperative Network, Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Wisconsin National Farmers Organization, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, Wisconsin Dairy Products Association, GrassWorks Inc, UW-Extension, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Profitability and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
One Sheet about the Dairy 30x20 Initiative Click Here (PDF)
A Summary of the Agricultural Reform Act currently on hold. The Congress has extended the 2008 Act until Sept. of 2013. Until then, the Congress will be reviewing and amending the Bill.
Agricultural Reform Act Bill
3/6/13 Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation: Ag Day at the Capitol
Ag Day at the Capitol will be held on March 6, 2013 in Madison.
Event Sponsor: The Rural Mutual Insurance Company, GROWMARK Inc., Wisconsin Farm Bureau
Wisconsin Agriculture - Wisconsin FFA 2013
Published on Feb 1, 2013
Do you know where your food comes from? Wisconsin is proud of its agricultural heritage. Help us tell the story of Wisconsin Agriculture! -2012-2013 Wisconsin State FFA Officer Team
Gov. Walker Visits World Dairy Expo
Published on Oct 8, 2012
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker visited World Dairy Expo in Madison. WDE is the premier show for all things dairy attended by visitors from all over the world. The Governor talked with Wisconsin business owners whose products and services are part of our state's ag export success story and met a dairy family from Plymouth.
animated when explaining the how’s and why’s of what he does.
“The herds that I have visited are large herds, small herds, traditional herds, grazing herds, and even Amish herds,” explained Roberts. “They are not out looking for help. They are in trouble. Things were chugging along okay, and then something happened that they can’t figure out; that they can’t get past with just the help of their local professionals.”
REPS has been successful because the services are comprehensive. The approach is straightforward and inclusive; looking at both what is wrong and why it is happening. Dr. Roberts notes that often farmers are highly-frustrated having already spent time and money without result. As a professional, Roberts is careful not to get involved unless the request for veterinary assistance comes directly from the farmer. Then he listens.
Roberts works with the farmer, conducting a variety of tests and sifting through the results very carefully. To fill in the gap and find the answer, Roberts asks questions. What animal health or production issue is the farmer concerned about? Locally, what professional support is already involved? Can he contact those local professionals? What diagnostic work has already been done?
“Working for DATCP has been an extraordinary and professionally rewarding experience,” added Roberts. “Not everything works out the way you hope, but I have looked at the data and know that overall there is a significant net dollar improvement on farms that I’ve tried to help.
In 2006, Roberts faced a consultant’s ultimate challenge. He moved to Florence County to help his aging in-laws with their remaining years of dairy farming. Five years later, his in-laws retired. By the time the herd was sold, production had risen to its highest, lifetime level. Milk quality was excellent, and the cows were all healthy.
“There is no place to hide when you are giving advice to your wife’s parents,” confessed Roberts. “You still have to show up for chores whether it turned out to be good advice or not.”
To Roberts, now nearing retirement age, it was a most satisfying career confirmation to know that the advice he had given to farmers across the state also worked on the home farm.
Requests for veterinary assistance from the
REPS program can be initiated by requesting an application from the DATCP’s Farm Center at
1-800-942-2474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WPT: Eliminate Tax
On Farm Property
►Grain Dryers and Grinders Powered Feeders
►Milk Coolers Milking Machines; including piping, pipeline washers
WPT believes that no business should pay taxes on the goods and equipment needed to earn a living. For that reason, and to reduce property taxes for farms and other businesses, WPT urges and will continue working to convince the Legislature to eliminate business personal property taxes.
March 29, 2013
Sand Mining Law Introduced
Sen. Kathleen Vinehout is proposing to regulate the booming frac sand mining industry that has swept across western Wisconsin in recent years. The Alma Democrat introduced legislation that would place new limits on the industry, including one that would prohibit mining within half a mile of any residence.
Vinehout said the legislation is in response to the proliferation of sand mines and the concerns she’s heard from hundreds of constituents. The five bills in her package would:
-- Prohibit frac sand mining, processing, or loading sand within 2,500 feet of a residence or residentially zoned district.
-- Make frac sand mining a conditional use in all areas zoned as agricultural. This would give local government the power to negotiate conditions on the operation of mines.
-- Authorize counties to issue licenses for frac sand exploration – meaning companies would have to get permission before drilling holes for prospecting, and promise to fill each hole.
-- Require anyone selling property to disclose any knowledge of a contract or option allowing frac sand mining on a neighboring property.
-- Require local governments to publish at least two newspaper notices 30 days before taking any action on a sand mine application and to directly notify all residents within one mile of the proposed mine.
Chippewa County is no stranger to frac sand companies. Currently, there are 11 existing or proposed mine sites listed by the county, with permits issued between April 2009 and July 2012.
After reviewing Vinehout’s proposal, Rep. Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie) is not sure it’s necessary. She said she’s not heard from any municipalities or residents in her district asking for more regulation, despite the presence of sand operations in her district.
Rich Budinger, president of the Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association, a trade group representing the industry, said Vinehout’s proposal appeared anti-mining, and the setback provision would render most land un-minable., Wisconsin Industrial Mining, has for decades operated mines that are less than 100 feet from neighboring properties.
There are 48 operational mines and processing plants in Wisconsin – most in the west central part of the state – and another 66 proposed or in development, according to data from the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Five years ago there were only about half a dozen. With a Buffalo County moratorium set to expire this year, there could be dozens more mines proposed.
March 29, 2013
Windfarms and Sand Mines Draw Legislative Attention
Farmers and other rural landowners in Northeastern Wisconsin are concerned about the effects of large windfarms and residents in Northwestern Wisconsin are concerned about the impact of nearby sand mining operations on their health and property values. Legislators are responding to their concerns.
Bill Would Restrict Windfarm Siting
It has been a year since the Wisconsin Legislature reinstated a controversial rule that uniformly regulates wind energy operations in the state. The rule — PSC 128 — spells out what is allowed and not allowed for wind turbines throughout Wisconsin.
Now, a group of state lawmakers seeks to again
allow municipalities greater latitude in skirting the PSC rules.
The Legislature’s primary opponent of current wind siting rules is state Sen. Frank Lasee. The Ledgeview Republican’s crusade includes advocacy on behalf of several 1st Senate District families who say they have suffered negative health effects from large wind turbines on or near their properties, including in Manitowoc and Brown counties.
Similar concerns are expressed in Sheboygan County, where EEW Services is proposing the four-turbine Windy Acres wind farm in the towns of Sherman and Holland. The effect of wind turbines on human health has been a subject of controversy for many years. Study results have proven inconclusive, however, and cannot at this point form the basis of policy changes.
Other advocates of allowing local units of government to have a larger hand in wind siting rules include state Sens. Joe Leibham and Glenn Grothman of Sheboygan, and state Reps. Daniel LeMahieu, Mike Endsley and Steve Kestell of Sheboygan, along with Rep. Andre Jacque of Bellevue.
Senate Bill 71, which allows political subdivisions to impose added restrictions on wind energy beyond PSC rules, is currently in the Senate Committee on Government operations.
Lasee’s bill will apply whether or not the wind tower was sited legally.
The bill explicitly prohibits wind tower owners or the owners of the land they are sited on, located less than 1.5 miles from the residence of the plaintiff from using as a defense the fact that the wind tower obtained a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Public Service Commission or was approved by a local government. This ability to sue was what eventually led to the correction of the stray voltage problem that was harming families and farm animals. Like wind tower damages, stray voltage was denied until proven in court.
The Enz, Ashley and Capelle families have been forced to abandon their homes because of the harmful effects of low frequency vibrations caused by 500ft industrial wind turbines. Hundreds of other families across the state have health problems and suffered significant losses in property value because of wind turbines being placed too close to their homes.
“If 500ft industrial wind turbines are truly safe and don’t devalue your neighbor’s property, then wind advocates and wind corporations have no reason to oppose this bill,” said Senator Lasee.