If your farm or agricultural business is located in one of Wisconsin's agricultural enterprise areas or if you are interested in creating one for your community, the 2011 Agricultural Enterprise Area Forum, hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, is an opportunity not to miss.
DATCP will host the first Agricultural Enterprise Area Forum, "Preparing for Wisconsin's Agricultural and Economic Future," on Sept. 27, at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.
"Agriculture and farming always face some uncertainty. If a farm expands, is there a business or processor to take the product? If a business expands, will there be farms to support the business?" commented DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel. "An AEA provides some certainty to farms and businesses alike as farmers voluntarily commit to remaining in agriculture for at least 15 years."
Keynote presentations by Steven Deller, PhD and Bruce Jones, PhD, faculty of University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics will address the economics of agriculture and the industry's future in Wisconsin.
"We are excited to have both Professor Deller and Professor Jones in attendance to share their perspective on both the current status and future direction of agriculture in Wisconsin," Brancel said. "This information can help farmers, agri-businesses and local governments in Wisconsin's AEAs consider different options to position themselves in order to take advantage of future trends."
In the afternoon, communities interested in pursuing AEA designation can receive training on developing an application and the selection process in one breakout session. The other breakout session is for those within designated AEAs to meet and share their experiences and what is working well within their area. Specialists from DATCP's Agricultural Development Division will also present, as will representatives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
The intended audience of the forum is landowners, local officials, and county staff within designated AEAs, community leaders interested in forming AEAs, and agribusinesses and economic development organizations. Any interested individual is also invited to attend, regardless if they are a part of a designated AEA.
"We're anxious to have those living in current designated AEAs attend to share their own experiences and perspectives," Brancel said. "The next round of AEA petitions are due this fall, so the forum is a chance to have questions answered before the next deadline."
The AEA program gives statewide designation to areas identified by the local community as critical for farmland preservation and important for future agricultural investment. Currently, there are 17 areas designated or recommended for designation. These 17 areas total approximately 340,000 acres statewide.
The conference will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, Kalahari Resort, 1305 Kalahari Dr., Wisconsin Dells, 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. The registration fee is $25 which includes lunch and refreshments. To register, visit http://datcpservices.wisconsin.gov/confreg/agforum.jsp or call (608) 224-4625. Registration deadline is Sept. 22