The Dane County Board is fast-tracking an initiative for a sustainable agriculture program that some hope could become a national model.
The board's Subcommittee on Sustainable Agriculture formed four work groups to come up with recommendations by August or September for how the county can promote sustainable agriculture.
Supv. Kyle Richmond, chairman of the Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, which formed the subcommittee, sees the county as uniquely positioned to be a national leader.
"Dane County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the state," he says. "But we're still number two or three in agriculture, which is a pretty amazing thing."
The work groups will focus on four areas: beginning farmers, farmland preservation/ conservation, food security and urban agriculture, and profitability and marketing.
Margaret Krome, a committee member who works at the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, says the work groups want "the most practical ideas, those with the strongest legs and political support and urgency."