Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Parks

Agricultural Conservation in County Parks

The Dane County Park System contains properties of various classifications which have a variety of different land covers and land uses including agricultural cropland. Some cropland is restored to permanent cover (such as prairie) and/or developed into recreational facilities, while others stay in agriculture based on the property’s ClassificationProperty Plan, and/or Vegetation Management Plan.

For parkland that is in agriculture, goals and recommendations in the Dane County Land & Water Resource Management Plan and the Dane County Parks & Open Space Plan are followed. These include implementing agricultural conservation practices to reduce soil erosion, improve water infiltration, improve water quality, build soil health, increase wildlife habitat, sequester carbon, and diversify production practices.

Agricultural Crop Leases

We work with the producers on our agricultural lands and use crop leases as a tool for land management. The lease identifies conservation practices for the producer to implement as well as a schedule for implementation.

Practices include:

  • Nutrient Management Plan developed in accordance with USDA NRCS 590 Conservation Practice Standard (USDA NRCS)
  • No phosphorous fertilizer application unless recommended by soil samples
  • Manure application only according to crop needs based on UW recommendation
    • No spreading on saturated soils, snow covered or frozen ground
  • No-till standards in accordance with USDA NRCS 329 Residue and Tillage Management, No-Till Conservation Practice Standard (USDA NRCS)
  • Vegetated Buffer setback
    • At least 30 feet from all perennial and intermittent streams lakes, ponds, wetlands, ditches, and other water features
    • From constructed grass waterways and other conservation features
  • Cutting/spraying/control of Canada thistles and other weeds to prevent reseeding.
  • Installation of erosion control measures as needed
    • Grassed waterways, water and sediment control basins, grade stabilization structures

Additional Information

Visit our department's Agriculture webpage for information about agricultural activities for landowners or producers including Nutrient Management Plans and Conservation Funding Opportunities. In addition, if you are a producer who is interested in leasing agricultural lands from Dane County, please contact Sharene Smith at (608) 576-4485.