Farmland Preservation Tax Credit Program

View the Residential Construction in Farmland Preservation Zoning Districts (PDF). The department (DATCP) recommends the following when preparing 2019 tax information:

Farmland Preservation Program Information

Walworth County farm owners typically received $312,539 in Farmland Preservation Program tax credits this past year, according to figures released by the State Department of Revenue. The number of farmers receiving Farmland Preservation Program tax credits in the County was 504. The average credit was $620.

The Program is an effective way of providing property tax relief to farmers while at the same time protecting prime Wisconsin farmland through land-use planning. Persons interested in applying for Farmland Preservation Program Tax Credit need to obtain a zoning certificate from the County Land Use and Resource Management Department and complete the State’s Farmland Preservation Credit Claim schedule FC-A.  Schedule FC should not be used; Walworth County does not execute Farmland Preservation Agreements.

Farmland Preservation Program Implementation Requirements

Walworth County prepared an Agricultural Preservation Plan which was approved by the State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture in 1978. This plan, along with the county’s exclusive agriculture zoning ordinance (A-1 zoning district) and the Walworth County Land Conservation Committee’s soil and water conservation requirements allows Walworth County residents to participate in the state’s tax credit program.

One method the state uses to monitor compliance with the program is the Notice of Rezoning Conditional Use form (PDF). This notice is a two-page report which must be completed every time a rezone or a conditional use permit is approved in the A-1 zoning district. The County submits an annual report to DATCP at the end of each year.  This report includes a map and description of the acres that were zoned out of A-1 as well as the conditional use permits that were issued.  Chapter 91 Wisconsin Statutes requires the County Zoning Agency to consider specific standards and conditions before approving a rezone or conditional use in the exclusive agricultural zoning district.

The criteria for rezoning property out of the A-1 Prime Agriculture District can be found here

Eligibility Requirements

  • Acres claimed must be located in a farmland preservation area identified in a certified county farmland preservation plan. Eligible land includes agricultural land or permanent undeveloped natural resource areas or open space land that is: in an area certified for farmland preservation zoning.
  • Claimants must have $6,000 in gross farm revenue in the past year or $18,000 in the past three years. Income from rental receipts of farm acres does not count toward gross farm revenue. However, gross farm revenue produced by the renter on the landowner’s farmland can be used to meet this eligibility requirement.
  • Property taxes on the land must be paid by the claimant.
  • Farmers claiming farmland preservation tax credits must certify on their tax form that they comply with state soil and water conservation standards. New claimants must also submit a certification of compliance with soil and water conservation standards that has been issued by the county land conservation committee.

Additional Help

To obtain more information about farmland preservation credit or help in preparing Schedule FC-A, or for a copy of Wisconsin Publication 503, "Wisconsin Farmland Preservation Credit," you may contact any Department of Revenue office. The location and telephone number of the office nearest you may be listed in your telephone book. You may also email a question to the Farmland department, or access the department’s website. Also, email DATCP with questions.

To obtain a zoning certificate contact the Walworth County Land Use and Resource Management Department at:
LURM Department
100 W Walworth Street
P.O. Box 1001
Elkhorn, WI 5312
Phone: 262-741-4972

  1. Brian Smetana

    Senior Conservation Technician

  2. Sheril Oldenburg

    Administrative Assistant