Advocacy Resources for County Conservation Members

WI Land+Water works with legislators and partner groups to advance our conservation priorities, including budget and legislative bills. Though we have lobbyists and partners that support our goals, there is nothing more effective than our local member conservationists speaking to the importance of conservation priorities in their own words. We encourage you to reach out, connect with your legislators, and advocate for locally led conservation.

Attend the State Budget hearings

WI Land+Water is hoping to have great representation from our members at these hearings, advocating for conservation. Below are resources to prepare you to advocate on behalf of our priorities. If you plan on attending a hearing and speaking on behalf of our conservation priorities, please let Matt Krueger know ahead of time. This information will be helpful for our lobbying strategy.

Budget Priority 1:

Provide $18.7 million in stable, core funding support for county conservation department staffing from the DATCP Soil and Water Resources Management Program budget.

Whether supporting producer-led groups, assisting waterfront property owners, helping farmers improve soil health, or responding to natural disasters, county conservation staff are relied upon by their communities.


  • A customizable template county resolution in support of this priority can be downloaded here.
  • A graph showing the widening gap between current county conservation funding levels and the “core” county conservation funding need can be downloaded here.

Conservation Staffing Handout

Budget Priority 2:

Improve and modernize the DATCP Farmland Preservation Program (FPP) by increasing participant tax credits and expanding grant implementation reimbursements to local units of government, as proposed in 2021-22 Senate Bill 68.

The Farmland Preservation Program is the only state conservation compliance program that rewards landowners for their stewardship of the land and their commitment to future generations of farmers.


  • A customizable template county resolution in support of this priority can be downloaded here.
FPP Handout

Speaking Tips for Joint Committee on Finance Hearings

The most effective testimony at a budget hearing will feature your own words, and your passion.

Talking points specific to county conservation staff funding and Farmland Preservation Program improvements can be found at the links above, but be sure to supplement those with your own words to support the budget asks. Tell your story—provide specific examples and of why your county needs more staff support, and what it would allow your department to do; or what improving participation in the Farmland Preservation Program would mean to your county.

Submit comments

If you cannot attend a hearing, you may also submit written comments on the budget, submitted to, which will be emailed to all committee members.

Arrange a meeting

If you are able to arrange one-on-one meetings with your legislators, please consult these legislative meeting advocacy tips.

General hearing information
  • All hearings begin at 10 am. If you arrive early, you have a chance at being able to speak earlier, but you should still prepare to spend the day there, in the event your name doesn't get called to speak earlier.
  • Be respectful. WI Land+Water has had productive talks in support of our conservation priorities with legislators from both parties. We look forward to continuing to have the respect of our legislators.
  • If you are sharing a success story about working with a farmer or landowner, consider bringing them along to offer testimony alongside yours. It's a big ask, but would get attention.
  • Bring enough copies of your testimony and handouts for all committee members. There are 16 members of the committee, listed here.
  • If your legislator does not sit on the Joint Committee on Finance, they may still be in attendance if the hearing is in their district. They may also hold their own (or have already held) budget listening sessions. You can offer the same testimony there.