Audubon farmland owners featured in new book

For Release: September 15, 2016

AUDUBON, Iowa — Audubon-area farmland owners Vic and Cindy Madsen are among the more than 25 farmland owners featured in a new book, “The Future of Family Farms: Practical Farmers’ Legacy Letters Project.”

The book gathers the letters and stories of families about the land they cherish – how they acquired it, what they treasure most about it and their hopes for its future. Some of the writers descend from families who have owned a particular patch of earth since the 1800s, while others became farmland owners more recently. Some are no longer farmland owners at all, because after careful thought about what matters most to them, they sold their land to the next generation of farmers.

Vic and Cindy purchased their land in 1975 and raised their three sons there. In the book, Vic writes that one of his favorite memories “is when the two oldest boys were about nine and seven, and they came around the corncrib carrying a bag of popcorn they had picked all by themselves. They were grinning from ear to ear. Cindy and I didn’t know they were picking the popcorn….. Both had looks of joy, pride and a sense of accomplishment.”

Cindy writes, “I was born and raised on a farm, and I can’t see myself doing anything else. I love the smell of fresh mowed hay and the apple tree blooming just south of the driveway. I love the smell of fresh wood chips under the baby chicks when we first take them out of the box.”

According to Vic, his “top farm goal for the future is to keep family harmony, to keep my family from fighting about what happens to or on the farm. My second goal is to provide a home for a family to work the ground. A farm is a wonderful place for children.” Cindy’s top goal for the farmland “is to keep it together and farmed sustainably. I would like the farm to stay together as a unit and in the family’s name as long as possible.”

Teresa Opheim, Farm Transfer Program director with Practical Farmers of Iowa, compiled the volume and says: “We are so pleased that so many farmland owners like Vic and Cindy are willing to share their stories for this book. They are leaders in tackling farmland succession issues, which are affecting so many people. Forty percent of America’s farmland is owned by those ages 65 and older, so now more than ever, it is time for farmland owners to think through the legacy they want to leave behind.”

The book is receiving national attention. “The Future of Family Farms is a timely and important new book,” says Julia Freedgood of the American Farmland Trust. “The Practical Farmers’ stories are both moving and relevant, reinforcing the need for families not only to have shared commitment but also a vision and plan for the future – whether they’ve been farming for more than a hundred years or are beginning farmers.”

According to Jim Habana Hafner of Land for Good, based in New Hampshire, “PFI and its members are an inspiration! They remind us all that family, community and stewardship are at the heart of farming. Their stories are a call to action to everyone who ‘belongs to the land’: Start the conversation today about your farm’s legacy.”

To order the book, visit www.uiowapress.org/books/2016-fall. Help for writing your own farm legacy letter is available at www.practicalfarmers/org/farmtransfer.

###

Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit http://practicalfarmers.org.

Contacts:

Teresa Opheim | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | [email protected]

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | [email protected]