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December 15, 2022: Farmland Forever

Thanks to all who attended and especially to our two speakers, Uplands farmer Dick Cates and American Farmland Trust's Alison Volk. Get caught up on YouTube:

You’ve worked very hard to steward your land, build the soil, raise your family, and to feed your community. The land where you live and work is central to that. Hear our conversation from December 15th, 2022 that explores how to preserve your land and your legacy in perpetuity. Agricultural conservation easements can protect your land from becoming a shopping mall or golf course while having financial benefits as well. Make sure your farmland stays farmland, for your community and for the next generation of farmers. Hear from experienced farmer Dick Cates, whose farm is protected by agricultural conservation easements, and from Alison Volk, who works with American Farmland Trust to protect farmland.


Dick Cates and his wife Kim, with son Eric (Kiley) and daughter Shannon (Dan), co-own the Cates Family Farm LLC in Dodgeville and Wyoming Townships, Iowa County, a grass-fed beef and contract grazing business. Dick is a life-long farmer who grew up working on his family’s cow-calf operation, Iowa County dairy farms, Montana ranches, and in large-scale dairy grain and forage crop production overseas. In 1995 Dick took part-time employment off the farm to develop and direct the WI School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers (WSBDF), a program of the UW-Madison, to train new farmers in business planning and managed grazing.

Alison Volk is the Land Protection Projects Deputy Director at American Farmland Trust (AFT). Alison coordinates all aspects of new easement acquisitions across the country. Prior to joining AFT, Alison worked at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for ten years. For five of those years she oversaw the Department’s farmland preservation program, which included the state’s agricultural conservation easement program. She earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied land use law and policy and focused on agricultural land preservation tools including conservation easements.


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