Brian Ohm appointed to state panel on purchase of ag conservation easements

Brian Ohm has been appointed to a new council that will advise the state agriculture department on the purchase of agricultural conservation easements, part of the efforts to protect Wisconsin farmland.

Ohm was appointed by Rod Nilsestuen, Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, as the council’s planning and land use representative. In addition to being professor and chair in the urban and regional planning department, Ohm is an affiliate of the Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies, an Extension  land use law specialist, and Vice President of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning Association.

State law requires a council to be formed to advise DATCP on administration of the PACE component of the Wisconsin Working Lands Initiative.

“Council members were selected to capture the diversity of Wisconsin’s agriculture or to represent persons who may be
affected or involved with the purchase of conservation easements on working farmland,” Nilsestuen said.

The purchase of agricultural conservation easements allows local governments or non-profit conservation organizations to permanently protect farmland. By working with willing sellers, a conservation easement is placed on eligible land that
ensures productive agricultural land remains available for future generations of farmers.

“Once farmland is placed into PACE, it will remain as farmland. These decisions will protect and enhance the economic
impact of Wisconsin’s hard working farm families,” Nilsestuen said. “I am pleased that some counties are already putting
together local PACE committees to identify farmland that should stay in agriculture.”

The Council will assist with program development, recommend guidance for funding distribution, and will provide a
liaison role between the department, local government, land trusts, landowners, and other partners. The PACE Council
will convene at its first meeting on October 5, 2009 in Madison.