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Serving: WI

Local Communities Can Apply to Host Land Use Workshops

Soccer fields or farm fields? Big farms, big homes or "big box?"

For many communities, there is an emerging or ongoing debate concerning the appropriate use of agricultural land, wooded acreage, and open space while meeting local needs. The state agriculture department is looking for local communities to host land-use workshops that can provide some needed tools to address this critical issue.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will accept applications from interested communities to host local workshops dedicated to protecting working land and other land use issues.

"Hosting these workshops will provide a local area with a unique opportunity to hear from one of the foremost experts in the field of land use protection. These workshops can provide a significant educational opportunity for local leaders, and help to advance local working land protection initiatives," explained Rod Nilsestuen, DATCP Secretary.

Topics discussed at the workshops will be determined in consultation with the selected local sponsors, but topics could include information on working land protection tools such as land use planning, agricultural zoning, purchase of agricultural conservation easements, and transfer of development rights.
Successful applicants will also receive information from DATCP on the components of the Wisconsin Working Lands Initiative Proposal.

Three similar workshops were held in early 2007 in Menomonie, Kimberly, and Oconomowoc. The past workshops proved to be a huge success and were attended by over 600 farmers, land owners, real estate related businesses, local and state officials and staff, attorneys, planners, and citizens.

"Because of the interest generated by last year's workshops, we're hoping that 10 to 15 workshops will be held between now and next spring," says Keith Foye, land management section chief.

Applicants interested in hosting a local workshop can obtain application materials online. Priority will be granted to sponsors whose application indicates that the workshop will have a regional, multiple county, or multiple local jurisdiction audience.

Applicants interested in hosting a workshop between Jan. 1 and March 31 must submit application materials by Nov. 1.

There is no cost to apply. The local sponsor can decide if they will cover any and all costs or charge a registration fee.

For more information on the application process, contact Coreen Fallat by e-mail or phone (608) 224-4625, or Paul Benjamin, by e-mail or phone (608) 224-4648.

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