Tireless is often overused in describing advocates, but it is the best way to describe Tom Lyon. 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 farmland protection, he uses this work as an opportunity to build community through kindness and trust.
Tom has used his skills and knowledge to help craft Wisconsin’s visionary Working Lands Initiative. By working with diverse stakeholders ranging from developers to farmers to environmentalists to academics, Tom was instrumental in helping to pull together a program designed to help farmers keep their lands in production.
After a multi-year effort to craft legislation that serves as the framework for the farmland protection, Tom has been there to be a guardian of the program. He has helped to stave off attacks that would repeal the program or render it it irrelevant. He has worked with a large community of farmland protection advocates to keep the pressure on legislators to move the program forward. He is now working with advocates to reinstate funding for the program. Through all of this, Tom’s wisdom is guiding the effort and his good humor keeps all working together to move forward.
Tom has also served two terms on 1000 Friends of Wisconsin board of directors, helping us stay on track in our efforts to support farming in Wisconsin.