Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers a Farm Succession Workshop to support farmers looking to transition their business. Specialists from the Beginning Farmer Center — such as John Baker, attorney, and David Baker, farm transition specialist — conduct the workshops to assist farm families with transitioning farms to the next generation with the creation of farm succession plans. “People come looking for skills and information to keep the farm in the family and to continue building the family legacy,” John Baker said. “These workshops move university research into communities in ways Iowans want it, so they can make better decisions and live out their dreams and aspirations.”
Other highlights from Lyon, Sioux, Osceola, O’Brien, Dickinson and Clay counties:
- Ricochet Program
Clay and Dickinson counties offered the Ricochet Program to sixth and seventh graders in the towns of Spencer and Spirit Lake. Ricochet provides a way for community partners, agencies and businesses to work together towards helping local youth develop leadership skills. Three hundred youth improved their leadership skills and enhanced their senses of belonging. A Kiwanis Builders Club was established in Spirit Lake to continue building on the leadership skills gained through Ricochet.
- Family Storyteller Program (PDF)
Spencer, Sibley, Sanborn and Lake Park in northwest Iowa benefited from the Family Storyteller Program this year. Families learned to ask more questions and to get more involved in reading, as well as learned techniques to make stories more interesting and interactive. Parents noted that youth learned to pay attention to details, learned how to relate better with others and developed a greater love for books through the program.
- Farmland Leasing and Land Values
Each county hosted a Farmland Leasing and Land Values meeting in July. Nearly 70 percent of northwest Iowa farmland is rented. The leasing workshops helped tenants and renters reach agreement on cash and flexible leasing rates and arrangements. Of the 450 attendees, 75 percent indicated they had one or more new ideas they would be able to use in their operations, while 34.5 percent left with ideas that would help them negotiate fair leasing arrangements. Following these workshops, a number of attendees received one-on-one assistance from Farm and Agribusiness Management Program Specialist Melissa O’Rourke.
- Ag Citing
More than 600 youth, representing 14 northwest Iowa schools, participated in a youth ag education program at the Clay County Fair. Ag Citing helps connect young people with the source of the food they eat and helps them understand the role agriculture plays in Iowa Participating youth rotated through stations that addressed topics of biotechnology, groundwater, pots of gold (grains grown in Iowa), and other. Teachers reported that the event increased their students’ understanding of agriculture and enriched their classroom curriculum.