As of November 10, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is accepting petitions for agricultural enterprise areas to be designated next year.

Agricultural enterprise areas, or AEAs, are blocks of land that are primarily in agricultural use for farming and for businesses that serve the farming sector. They are created when at least five landowners and their local governments petition for an AEA designation and the department approves the petition.

Communities interested in AEA designation need to begin work soon; these petitions typically require meetings and data gathering, so they may take several months to prepare. Landowners and agribusinesses interested in forming an AEA should contact their local government officials to begin the process. The external evaluation team that reviews the petitions considers the level of local support in deciding whether to recommend areas for AEA status, so petitioners should involve their communities from the beginning.

When AEAs designated this year take effect on Jan. 1, Wisconsin will have 34 AEAs totaling 1.1 million acres in 25 counties, 98 towns, and the Bad River Reservation. DATCP has the authority to designate up to 2 million acres for AEAs.

Read the full press release from DATCP.