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Limitations of Agricultural Land Use Planning Tools in Rural Wisconsin
Staff Paper Series No. 3, July 2000
by Douglas Jackson-Smith and Jill Bukovac

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Because of the state’s traditionally rural landscape and agricultural economy, protecting farmland and farmers have been widely shared goals for local and regional land use planning in Wisconsin. Recent statewide surveys found that two out of three state residents believe that it is “very important” to preserve farmland and roughly half think that “preserving farmland is so important that the requirements and restrictions cannot be too high and must be put in place regardless of cost.” Even amongst farmers – often thought to be less supportive of land use policies – clear majorities support the idea that “local governments should restrict nonfarm development in important agricultural areas.” As a result of this longstanding public support, the state has been a leader in the use of tax and planning/zoning policies designed to protect rural and agricultural resources.

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