You might remember it was pretty snowy on Monday and Tuesday of this week. That meant some Winneshiek County families missed a ceremony in Des Moines to honor them and other families across the state who donated almost 5500 acres of Iowa land in 32 counties, permanently protecting it through conservation easements. The Iowa DNR, however, wants to make sure the families are recognized.
Brothers Ace and Jeff Hendricks, along with their wives Judy and Shelley, donated a conservation easement to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation on their 111-acre century farm north of Decorah. The farm, near the Upper Iowa River, has been in the family since 1871. Limited, sustainable agriculture, water quality and diversity are the brothers' goals for the property. They wished to permanently protect the property from development while still enjoying farming, stewarding and hunting on their family land.
Bobby and Paula Jewell and their eldest son, Robby, donated a portion of the value of an agricultural land easement (ALE) on their family's century farm near Decorah to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. At 696 acres, it is the first ALE in Iowa, blending the family's desire to permanently protect the land for conservation while remaining a sustainable farm operation. The farm features a diverse mix of working lands, woodland and water features, including a small stretch of Ten Mile Creek and three springs. The easement will help promote water quality on the adjacent Upper Iowa River. The farm has been in the family since 1876.
Lyle Luzum's family has farmed their land for 144 years. The family lost ownership of the farm in the 1930s, but still farmed the land and repurchased it in the 1940s. Lyle sold the land to the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) to honor the long conservation legacy of the farm and keep it in sustainable food production as he had done since the 1980s. New farmers can now farm the land, with no down payment or mortgage, for a lifetime and even pass on to their farming children.