Farmland Preservation Program

The main purpose of the Farmland Preservation Program is to preserve Wisconsin rural land by means of local land use planning and conservation practices.  Landowners that participate in the Farmland Preservation Program are eligible to collect Farmland Preservation tax credits.

All Towns have the choice to participate in the program, as the program is not state mandated.  If a Town wishes to participate, there are two methods to participate in the program:  Farmland Preservation Zoning and/or Farmland Preservation Agreements.

Depending on the Town's method of participation, eligible landowners may collect one of the following tax credit amounts:

  • $5.00 per acre for land entered in to a Farmland Preservation Agreement (located in an Agricultural Enterprise Area - AEA).  The Town of Ashippun and the northwest portion of the Town of Emmet is eligible for this tax credit amount.
  • $7.50 per acre for land within a Farmland Preservation Zoning District.  The following towns are eligible for this tax credit:  Calamus, Fox Lake, Herman, Lebanon, Leroy, Lomira, Oak Grove, Theresa and Williamstown.
  • $10.00 per acre for land within the Farmland Preservation Zoning district and land that was entered in to a Farmland Preservation Agreement.  The following towns are eligible for this tax credit:  Burnett, Elba, Porltand, Shields, Trenton.

If a Town does not participate by farmland preservation zoning or does not obtain an AEA (for farmland preservation agreements), the Town's landowners are not eligible for the Farmland Preservation Program tax credits:  Landowners in the following towns are not eligible for the program: Beaver Dam, Chester, Clyman, Hubbard, Hustisford, Lowell, Rubicon, and Westford.

Landowner participation eligibility requirements are:

  • Land must be covered by exclusive agricultural/farmland preservation zoning, or be covered by an approved Farmland Preservation Program Long-Term Agreement with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). There is no minimum acreage requirement.
  • Landowners must show a minimum of $6,000 in gross farm revenues for the past year, or minimum of $18,000 over the past three years.
  • Property taxes on the land must be paid by the participating landowner.
  • Landowners must certify on their state income tax return that they are in compliance with state soil & water conservation standards.

Soil & water conservation requirements:

All landowners claiming tax credits under the revised program must comply with statewide conversation standards. The statewide conservation standards are specified in the Wisconsin Administrative Rules ATCP 50 and NR151, and are summarized below:

  1. All land where crops or feed are grown shall be cropped to achieve a soil erosion rate equal to, or less than, the “tolerable” (T) rate established for that soil, according to the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation, Version 2 – (RUSLE2)
  2. All crop producers and livestock producers that apply manure or other nutrients to agricultural fields shall have and follow an annual nutrient management plan that complies with USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service Technical Standard #590
  3. Construction of a new manure storage facility or alterations to an old manure storage facility must be done so as to minimize the risk of structural failure or leakage. (Dodge County also has an ordinance regulating manure storage construction and closure)
  4. A manure storage facility shall be closed when the facility has ceased operation, or manure has not been added or removed for a period of 24 months; and closure shall be done in a manner that will prevent contamination of groundwater or surface water
  5. Failing and leaking manure storage facilities that pose an imminent threat to public health or wildlife, etc. shall be upgraded, replaced or abandoned
  6. Runoff shall be diverted away from contacting feedlots, manure storage or barnyard areas within water quality management areas (within 300 feet of a stream or ditch; or within 1,000 feet of a lake)
  7. There shall be no overflow of a manure storage facility
  8. There shall be no unconfined manure pile within water quality management areas
  9. There shall be no direct runoff from a feedlot or stored manure into waters of the state
  10. There shall be no unlimited access by livestock to waters of the state where high concentrations of animals prevent the maintenance of adequate sod or self-sustaining vegetative cover

Existing participants need to meet these standards based on a 5-year schedule of compliance, and any new participants must demonstrate compliance with the conservation standards at the time when applying for the program. Participants under older long-term agreements (signed prior to July 1, 2009), must comply with the conservation standards that were in place when the long-term agreement application was submitted to the county.

For more information or clarification, contact the Dodge County Land Conservation Department at 920-386-3660.

For answers to frequently asked tax credit questions, click the line below:


Non-Point Source Pollution Control

Even though the state of Wisconsin no longer sponsors a watershed based non-point source pollution control program, the Dodge County Land Conservation Department performs a variety of non-point source pollution control work activities. Current and on-going work activities in this area include the following:
  • Land & Water Resource Management Plan Implementation - Planning, design, installation, and cost sharing of non-point source pollution control practices provided to landowners under the Wisconsin Land & Water Resource Management Program.
  • Nutrient and Manure Management Planning - Technical, educational, and cost share assistance provided to landowners to assist in the preparation and implementation of cropland nutrient management plans. Manure spreading restriction maps are prepared for land owners and land operators needing to know the location of environmentally sensitive sites where manure spreading is to be restricted.
  • Wisconsin Non-Point Runoff Rule Implementation - Working cooperatively with Wisconsin DNR field staff, Dodge County Land Conservation Department staff assist with the planning, design, installation and cost sharing of non-point pollution control practices with landowners who have been determined to be violating one or more of Wisconsin's Non-Point Runoff Rules under Wisconsin Administrative Rule NR151.


Dodge County Manure Storage Ordinance

Dodge County's Manure Storage and Nutrient Utilization Ordinance was revised in June of 2007. The ordinance continues to require anyone who is planning to build a new manure storage system, or anyone who is planning to substantially alter an existing manure storage system in Dodge County to obtain a permit from the Dodge County Land Conservation Department, and to do this construction work in compliance with construction standards. The revised ordinance now provides for the following additional requirements:

  • To properly close manure storage facilities that have not been used for two or more years.
  • The issuance of a "Certificate of Use" prior to a landowner being allowed to use a new or substantially altered manure storage facility.
  • The preparation of an emergency response plan to be implemented in the event of a manure spill or discharge.
  • To prepare and annually update and follow a nutrient management plan for as long as a permitted manure storage facility continues to be used to store manure.

Below are two links for manure storage applications. One is an application for a permit to close a manure storage facility and the other is an application to construct a manure storage facility. 


Wildlife Crop Damage Program

Dodge County contracts with USDA-APHIS Animal Damage Control staff to carry out daily work on this program. The program offers wildlife crop damage abatement services for damage done by deer, geese, and turkeys. Crop damage claims payments can be made to eligible landowners who experience over $500 in damage to crops.


Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

The Dodge County Land Conservation Department is administering the state's technical work responsibilities of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). The CREP program allows landowners to enroll cropland or pasture land that is immediately adjacent to rivers, streams or farm drainage ditches into 15 year set-aside contracts or permanent easements. Eligible landowners receive state and Federal incentive payments and cost share payments to install practices such as grass filter strips, wooden buffer strips, wetland restorations, or grass waterways. More information may be obtained by contacting the Dodge County Land Conservation Department.


Land and Water Resources Management Program

Cost share dollars are available to Dodge County landowners for implementing soil and water conservation practices that reduce soil erosion/sediment delivery, and that reduce non-point source water pollution. Applications will be taken throughout the year up to November 1st. However, funds are limited, so applications for funding should be submitted as soon as possible. Practices that will achieve the highest level of soil erosion and non-point source pollution control will be given a high priority ranking, but applications must be submitted by March 31st to be given this consideration. Work performed under this program is guided by the Dodge County Land and Water Resource Management Plan as revised in 2007. To view the revised plan, please click on the link below.


Nutrient Management Program

UW-Extension Nutrient Management Workshops


Nutrient Management Farmer Training Program This is an educational program for the producer who wants to learn how to prepare a Nutrient Management Plan that meets the current standards. Participants are required to attend 2-3 hours of classroom training. As part of the training program participants will:

  • Receive farm maps - (aerial, soils, and manure spreading restrictions)
  • Have their Manure Spreader Calibrated to determine application rate
  • Develop a Nutrient Management Plan for their operation

For more information contact Robert Bird at 920-386-3660


Contacts for Soil Testing and Nutrient Planning:

 Certified Crop Advisors [PDF]

Fertilizer Dealers [PDF]

Please call Robert Bird @ (920) 386-3660 with any questions regarding Nutrient Management.

When are Nutrient Management Plans Required?

  • Anyone in Farmland Preservation Program
  • Anyone Installing/Altering Manure Storage Structure
  • Expanding operations going thru Livestock Siting Ordinance
  • Operations under DNR WPDES permits (CAFO's/more than 1000 Animal Unit)

How often do I have to update my Nutrient Management Plan?

Annually. (Winter) Prior to growing season.

Manure Spreading:

Protecting Surface and Ground Water.

How do I show compliance with the Nutrient Management Requirement? By filling out and submitting a 590 checklist.

Click on the following link to print out the Nutrient Management Checklist to manually fill out and send in: Nutrient Management Plan Checklist OR Click on the following link to fill in the word document and send to us electronically (see email address below): Nutrient Management Plan Checklist Fill In Form.doc

Send a copy of your completed Nutrient Management checklist to: Dodge County Land Conservation Department, 127 East Oak Street, Juneau, WI 53039 or email at

Write your Nutrient Management Plan using free Snap Plus software.  SNAP PLUS WEBSITE:

Dodge County Land Conservation/DATCP

Producers can receive a one time payment of $28/acre for completing a Nutrient Management Plan. Farmers can get on a waiting list to be funded as monies become available.

For more info contact Marc Bethke or Robert Bird at (920) 386-3660.

USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

For complete and updated details regarding the above program, please contact NRCS at 920-386-9999 ext. 3.

Call (920) 386-3660 for the most up to date information on Nutrient Management programs.


Small Packet Tree Sales Program  

The Dodge County Land Conservation Department is once again selling small packets of trees and shrubs for spring 2017 planting.  Trees and shrubs being offered for sale include Red Oak, White Oak, Swamp White Oak, Burr Oak, Sugar Maple, White Cedar, White Pine, Colorado Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, White Spruce, Tamarack, Black Cherry, Fraser Fir, Red Osier Dogwood, American Cranberry Bush, Hazelnut, Elderberry, and American Plum.  Trees and shrubs will be sold in bundles of 25, and all species are being sold for $25.00 per bundle.  There are a limited number of trees and shrubs available, so order early.  For more information, or to obtain an order form, please contact the Dodge County Land Conservation Department weekdays at (920) 386-3660; or you can view and download a copy of the brochure and order form by clicking on the link below.

2016/2017 Tree Brochure Form


Miscellaneous Services

  • Provide free conservation planning and technical assistance to county landowners
  • Prepare manure spreading restriction maps
  • Provide two tree planters and one herbicide sprayer for rent to landowners planting large numbers of trees
  • Provide "spud bars" for those planting smaller numbers of trees
  • Sponsor a small packet tree sales program
  • Provide assistance in calibrating manure spreaders for nutrient management planning
  • Coordinate a farmer network for those interested in doing intensive rotational grazing
  • Maintain a list of available rental equipment for doing conservation tillage & no till


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Last updated: 11/16/2016 1:45:16 PM