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Tour promotes maintaining Iowa's sustainable agricultural land

Posted: Thu, Jun 9, 2016 12:44 PM

The Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) was at the house of Lyle and Sue Luzum's Driftless Hills Farm Thursday to explain the importance of maintaining Iowa's sustainable agricultural land and to discuss how one can go about preserving their own land.

Lyle and Sue Luzum are considering retirement, but want to make sure that their farmland continues to produce sustainable food for the local community, as their daughter is not planning to take over the duties of the farm.

SILT is prepared to make sure that the Luzum's wish comes true. For a year and a half, SILT has been securing farmland with the intention of maintaining its sustainable food production for years to come. So far, SILT has acquired two farms.

According to Lyle Luzum, partnering with SILT was a perfect match. "After seeing a [SILT] talk at the Oneota Co-Op," Luzum said, "I walked up and said 'I think I want to sell you my farm.'"

Both SILT and Luzum had the goal to keep this farm sustainable so that it doesn't end up in the hand of developers.

"If you just sell it to the highest bidder," Luzum said, "then they will just try to make as much money as they can per acre, turning the land into a commodity."

SILT chose to showcase this farm, partly because of its proximity to Decorah. According the SILT President Suzan Erem, the most important land to maintain is that which is prone to development as towns get bigger.

According to Erem, it is essential that people realize the importance of maintaining sustainable farming practices.

"With the local food movement, we've got a really good wave to ride right now, but how long will that last?" Erem said. "We all know this land, it's beautiful, you probably don't want to see it spoiled, so we need to start protecting it now."