“Tireless” is often overused in describing advocates, but is the best way to describe how no matter what happens, no matter what setbacks occur, no matter how long we have to keep pushing to protect farmland, Tom Lyon is back at it with a smile. He not only is committed to the end goal of farmland protection, he uses this work as an opportunity to build community through kindness and trust.
Tom is the retired CEO of Cooperative Resources International; former president of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents; past board member of American Farmland Trust; member of the Wisconsin Stewardship Task Force; and served as co-chair of the Wisconsin Future of Farming and Rural life study. Tom served as Rod Nilsestuen’s special assistant for the Working Lands Initiative and made sure Rod’s vision was carried through. Tom was the glue that held it all together resulting in the passage of the Wisconsin Working Lands Initiative, signed into law in 2009 and comprised of the following three programs: Farmland Preservation Program, Agricultural Enterprise Area Program and the Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement Program