Marc Schober is the editor of Farmland Forecast an educational blog devoted to investments in agriculture and farmland.
Dec 01, 2009
Preserving farmland in Wisconsin is becoming a major issue because it is vanishing at one of the highest rates in the nation. Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle is developing a plan to preserve Wisconsin farmland according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
From 1978 to 2008, Wisconsin's farmland decreased by 19%. Although the trend has slowed down in the past year, Bruce Jones, a farm economist at UW-Madison claims that the loss of farmland has slowed in recent years because of higher farm profits and turmoil in the housing and lending markets. But losses could pick up again in future years.
The history of Wisconsin's attempt to preserve its farmland:
1977 - Tax credits were given out to farmers to help them save land.
2000 - Farmland is valued at what it produces, not development speculation.
2009 - Governor Doyle is trying to pass a plan to add upon the 1977 law.
The new plan would team the state government up with local governments to buy the farmland rights for development. This plan could get Federal attention as well. The plan would also push local governments to update their zoning rules along with identifying farmland that should be preserved. Finally, the plan would update tax credits for farmers.
What does this mean for the outlook of farmland?
First, farmland has been identified as a dying breed. Second, these government programs could be utilized to expand farm operations.
Wisconsin has admitted that they are losing farmland fast, and southern Wisconsin is losing it as fast as any other place in the US. If farmland is decreasing and the need for farm products is increasing, it displays that farmland is going to go up in value because the demand is rising for it.
According to an article in the Star Tribune this week, there is a steady increase in demand from poorer countries for grains, as people there eat more food, especially more protein. More people are better nourished thanks to a bit more grain, a lot more meat and much more milk.
The last important piece to take from Wisconsin's plan is how to use the program money. Some farmers say that with the money they get from selling their development rights, they can buy more farmland and expand their operations. If they intend on farming the land, might as well buy more with the government money.
There is only a limited supply of farmland to feed the mouths of the world and remember, "You can't make any more of it."
Read more about agriculture and farmland at farmlandforecast.colvin-co.com.