Iowa Falls farmer featured in new book on farmland legacies
For Release: September 20, 2016
IOWA FALLS, Iowa – Iowa Falls farmer John Gilbert is featured in a new book, “The Future of Family Farms: Practical Farmers’ Legacy Letters Project,” just published by University of Iowa Press.
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.
John Gilbert, who farms with his family at Gibralter Farms, writes in the book that “finding a good transition plan is complicated, but it is our opportunity to ensure our land is cared for in the manner we feel is best, even from the grave.”
He also discusses in the book the strong sense of belonging to the land that farmers have. “Properties often are known by the families that own them, or the families who owned them generations back, even after all signs of a farmstead are bulldozed and buried,” he writes.
Teresa Opheim, Farm Transfer Program director with Practical Farmers of Iowa, compiled the volume and says: “We are so pleased that so many farmland and former-farmland owners like John 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.”
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.
Teresa Opheim | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | [email protected]
Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | [email protected]