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County Executive Falk Announces First Purchase of Development Rights on Farmland Along New Highway 12 Corridor

For more information contact:

Sharyn Wisniewski, (608) 267-8823

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 8/13/2004

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, standing in front of a white farmhouse overlooking green fields of corn and soybeans, today announced the first Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) along the new Highway 12 corridor between Middleton and Sauk City.

"We have some of the best farmland in the world right here in Dane County," Falk said. "As the new Highway 12 is built, we are working hard to keep as much land as possible in farming." The PDR purchase assures the land will never be developed, and will continue to be farmed by the farm family who owns the land.

The $207,000 that Dane County is paying for the development rights on 83 acres owned by Robert and Monica Ziegler, who farm the land, comes as part of the $5 million that Falk and the county negotiated in 1999 with the state Department of Transportation to make available for land planning and preservation along U.S. 12.

Since the 1999 agreement, Falk also helped bring together officials from Dane County, local towns and the state to hammer out comprehensive plans to keep land along the new highway corridor in mostly agricultural use.

"Communities along the Highway 12 corridor have an extraordinary commitment to working together on the very challenging issue of preserving the rural character of this part of the county in the face of high development pressure," Falk said.

The Ziegler family (grandparents, parents and siblings of Bob Ziegler) has been farming in Dane County since 1952. Bob and Monica raised four children on the farm over the past 30 years.

"We can sell the rights and not lose the land,” says Ziegler when asked why he participated in the PDR program. “This is some of the best land in the State of Wisconsin. You can plow and plow and plow and never hit a rock. It is flat and well drained.” Monica Ziegler adds, “For us, agriculture is important. God isn’t making any more ground.”

In the distance, looking across the roadway from the farmhouse to the land being preserved, you can see “Phil’s Woods,” a small, 37-acre Dane County Park named for Philip LaFollette, three-time Governor of Wisconsin.

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