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New Financing Helps Iowa Farmers Pass the Torch


New financing helped Jim Peterson of Knoxville purchase 320 acres to be used for organic grains, cattle and sheep production. (Practical Farmers of Iowa)
New financing helped Jim Peterson of Knoxville purchase 320 acres to be used for organic grains, cattle and sheep production. (Practical Farmers of Iowa)
January 11, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa – More than one-third of farmland in Iowa is owned by people 75 and older, and increasing land prices can make it difficult to pass the torch to the next generation of farmers. A social impact company is working in Iowa to help make these transfers possible.

Through financing from Iroquois Valley Farms, fourth-generation farmer Jim Peterson of Knoxville purchased 320 acres from elderly owners whose family had owned the land since 1903. Peterson says it will be used for organic grains, cattle and sheep production, perhaps for many years to come.

"I'm hoping that I can pass it down to several more generations and it will help with our children," he said. "And it will be farmed organically. I'm a firm believer in trying to get away from chemicals as much as possible."

Iroquois Valley Farms supports organic land management, providing land access opportunities to family farmers and creating values-based agriculture investment opportunities. This is the company's first investment in Iowa.

Practical Farmers of Iowa assisted in the transaction by connecting the sellers to Iroquois Valley Farms. And PFI's director of farm transfers Teresa Opheim says it's a good example of the type of creative financing options that are needed to help preserve Iowa's farming heritage.

"Iroquois Valley Farms works toward both financial land stewardship goals but also helps to get farmers on the land, so it's really a win-win for those of us who care about rural Iowa and care about using our money for good," she said.

Iroquois Valley Farms has helped sustainable farmers secure land on 37 properties in 11 states, and the company plans to open mortgage financing and long-term leasing to all potential investors this year.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IA