Wisconsin surveys interest in farmland preservation

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin department is surveying 3,000 landowners in 15 counties to gauge their thoughts on the state's Farmland Preservation Program as enrollment declines.

The program gives farmers a range of tax break options for preserving land for future agricultural use and protecting it from development.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that Alison Volk with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says the number of claims has dropped by nearly 25 percent between 2010 and 2016.

About 13,000 people claimed about $18 million in tax credits through the program in 2015. But less than 12,000 received $16.6 million in tax credits in 2016.

Volk says the survey is the first widespread assessment of the program since 2009.