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April 2014



Governor Walker Signs Implements of Husbandry Legislation

By Jordan Lamb, DeWitt Ross & Stevens


On April 23, 2014, Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 509 (now 2013 Wisconsin Act 377), which was authored by Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Representative Keith Ripp (R-Lodi). This legislation establishes new, less restrictive size and weight limitations for farm machinery known as "implements of husbandry" (IOH) and establishes a new category of farm machinery known as "agricultural commercial motor vehicles" (Ag CMV).


Under the new law, vehicles that are defined as IoH or Ag CMVs will generally be allowed to operate at weight limits 15% higher than previously allowed unless seasonal or other special weight postings apply.


The bill also:

  • Establishes length and width limits for various ag-vehicles and Ag CMVs;

  • Defines lighting and marking requirements for IoH;

  • Provides local governments with flexibility in administering the length and weight limits; and

  • Prohibits motorists from passing an IoH or Ag CMV in a no-passing zone.

Informational WEBINAR held May 7 (click here to sign up) There is no charge for participating in the webinar; however, you must have your computer registered by May 5.  For more information about the webinar, and content details, click here


The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation has created an in-depth summary of the new legislation. That summary is available online at: http://wfbf.com/legislative/ioh/.


The Wisconsin DOT has provided information about the new law in the "Doing Business" section of the WisDOT web site under "Ag Vehicles" online at: www.dot.wisconsin.gov/business/ag/index.htm.


The Wisconsin DOT and UW Extension have developed size and weight charts for both IoH and Ag CMV under the new law. Click on IoH or Ag CMV to open pdf copies of these charts.


Check Your Real Estate Tax Assessments

 By Jordan Lamb, DeWitt Ross & Stevens


Growers tend to own a lot of support land as a part of their farms. Most, if not all of these support lands are wetlands and woodlands, which are classified as "undeveloped lands" or "agricultural forests" for property tax purposes. As such, they should qualify for a property tax assessment at 50 percent of their market value. Farmers' "agricultural land" (cultivated areas, etx.) receive the very favorable "use value assessment" of farmland, which establishes the property tax rate using a formula set by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.


Check your property tax assessments now. If your assessments seem questionable, then check with your assessor immediately. Verify that your property assessments have been performed consistent with Department of Revenue guidelines. If you have a disagreement with your assessor, then use the appeal process by going to your local Town Board of Review.


DNR Appoints New Water Division Chief - Russ Rasmussen

By Jordan Lamb, DeWitt Ross & Stevens


The Water Division of DNR manages the regulatory programs of significance to Wisconsin farmers: wetlands, wetland mitigation, impaired waters, nutrient management performance standards, high capacity well approvals and reporting, and other water-related programs.


Ken Johnson served as Administrator of the Water Division for the last four years. Secretary Stepp has now announced that the Deputy Administrator, Russ Rasmussen, has been appointed to replace Mr. Johnson.


Mr. Rasmussen worked in the private sector for 16 years before he joined state government 19 years ago. For the last 13 years, he has worked at the DNR and has served as Deputy Administrator of the Water Division for the last 4 years. 


The PDPW Capitol Link monthly e-newsletter is sponsored by DeWitt Ross & Stevens law firm. DeWitt Ross & Stevens is a Wisconsin law firm whose members are leaders in their areas of practice and in their communities. Founded in 1903, today there are more than 80 attorneys in their Madison and Milwaukee offices. Nominated by peers as top lawyers nationally and locally, DeWitt's attorneys offer numerous services including strategic counseling, advocacy, collaboration, alternative dispute resolution, negotiation, mediation, lobbying, and litigation.


This newsletter is a periodic publication produced by PDPW and DeWitt Ross & Stevens. The information provided in this newsletter is provided for educational and informational purposes only. PDPW does not attempt to influence legislation or administrative rules at any level. The contents of this newsletter are intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific situation. You are urged to consult an attorney concerning your own situation and any legal questions you may have.


Jordan Lamb is a partner at DeWitt Ross & Stevens' Capitol Square office in Madison. Jordan's law practice focuses on government relations and administrative law. She concentrates on legislative drafting, legislative research, and facilitating communication between clients and state government including administrative agencies and the State Legislature. Ms. Lamb also offers litigation support for administrative law issues. Jordan can be contacted at 608-252-9358 or at jkl@dewittross.com. For more information about DeWitt Ross & Stevens, go to www.dewittross.com.

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