Touring the Town of Dunn

Our Government Relations Director Mike Carlson escaped his desk for a few hours recently to tour the beautiful Town of Dunn, which boasts a land protection success story—one of a township, practically within view of Madison, that has figured out how to maintain its rural character.

Mike joined some great folks from the Tall Pines Conservancy and Towns of Ashippun and Oconomowoc. The group met with Town of Dunn Board Chair, Ed Minihan, and Land Use Manager, Erica Schmitz, who told them about the town’s highly successful Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program, which has enabled their conservation success.

A PDR program is a voluntary land protection program, whereby farmers can sell their rights to develop their land to either their local government or a land trust.  Doing so ensures that their property will be protected forever.

The group toured several farms that have been protected through the PDR program.  A tour highlight was Bob Uphoff’s hog farm—the closest hog farm to the State Capitol.  Several years ago, Bob protected a large portion of his working farmland with an agricultural conservation easement through the PDR program, and he has since become an excellent spokesman for this farmland protection tool. He is, without a doubt, an extremely passionate guy, and he may have even convinced a few skeptics in the group about the merits of PDR programs.

Hopefully, PDR programs like the Town of Dunn’s will soon become the rule, instead of the exception.  Interest around the state is certainly growing.  Now we just have to turn this interest into action!

Read about another innovative farmland protection effort in Waupaca County