Gov. Doyle: State Farms Receive $40 Million in Tax Relief

Eva Robelia, Department of Revenue, 608-261-2271
Jessica Erickson, Governor’s Office, 608-261-2156

Governor Jim Doyle announced today that Wisconsin farmers
received approximately $40 million in direct benefits in 2003 through the
Farmland Preservation and the Farmland Tax Relief credit programs – a $9.9
million increase over the prior year from the two programs.

“Agriculture is the backbone of Wisconsin’s economy,”
Governor Doyle said. “And we need to do everything we can, including
providing tax relief, to help our farmers increase production and

The Governor used his line-item veto power to restore the
Farmland Preservation Program, which was eliminated in the budget passed by
the Legislature. The program provides a refundable income tax credit to
over 20,000 farmers statewide. About two-thirds of the payments under the
program go to farmers with annual household incomes less than $25,000.

In 2003, over 20,000 farms claimed Farmland Preservation
credits amounting to $16.4 million in 2003 – similar to the prior year.
Another 56,000 farms received Farmland Tax Relief Credit totaling $23.6
million – up $9.9 million due to use value assessments.

To participate in the Farmland Preservation program, farms
are required to develop soil conservation plans to encourage local
communities to protect agricultural land. By planning ahead, it guarantees
that farmland will be available to future generations while protecting our
rivers, lakes and streams from run-off pollution.

“In 2003, those applying for the Farmland Preservation
credit averaged $801, equally 23 percent of claimants’ average property tax
bill,” said Secretary of Revenue Michael L. Morgan. “Plus, those who
participate in the Farmland Tax Relief program had an average refund of
$422. This is tax relief that can really make a difference to farmers.”

The attached tables show participation by county. The
largest Farmland Preservation payments were in Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Fond
du Lac, Iowa, Jefferson and Rock counties.