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Wisconsin budget committee votes to freeze farm program

AP newswire Published on 25 May 2011

The Wisconsin Legislature's budget committee has voted to stop accepting applications under a program designed to preserve Wisconsin's farms.

The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee voted Wednesday to essentially end the purchase of agricultural conservation easements program and $12 million in borrowing that was approved in 2009 to help fund it.

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About $5 million in funding to buy easements would be allowed for 16 farms accepted into the program last year.

The so-called PACE program is part of the state's Working Lands Initiative to protect farms from development and slow the loss of working agricultural land. The initiative also includes farmland preservation zoning, tax credits and the creation of agricultural enterprise areas.

The committee voted to require a study into replacing the program with a less expensive alternative. PD

—From AP newswire

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