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Renting farmland and civility

sugar loaf.jpg
Dateline: Woodbury County where the Loess Hills meet the Missouri bottom

One new owner of Iowa farmland shows how civility can affect business

Farmers are looking for more land to rent. A man’s mother died recently. When neighboring farmers inquired about renting the land that is now his, he turned away those who had not treated him civilly through the years. He thought all the way back to high school, some 40 years. And probably he thought of the few who came to his mother’s funeral. The farmland, though few acres, went to neighbors who had helped his mother. To neighbors who had treated him kindly.

My dad did the same thing years ago when he wanted a new renter. He thought back only several years. Who drove over with a blade on the tractor to plow the drive? Who arrived unannounced with food when my mom was ill? Who drove mom and dad to an appointment in Omaha? Only one couple passed the test and that’s who was allowed to rent dad’s land. Dad made sure my sister and I understood very clearly how he made that decision.

Civility impacts morale, retention rates, productivity and profit in the workplace
Most of us don’t work in an atmosphere where the impact of civility is quite as evident and such a direct line as renting farmland. But I have no doubt that the correlation exists. The culture of the organization and how we are treated by superiors affect our productivity. How we treat clients and customers determines how much business we get.

It’s somehow easier to see the correlation when we’re the customer upset by someone working in a store or in a call center and we vow not to do business with them anymore. So think about the direct correlation of civility and the workplace as you go about answering customer and client requests and work with all the people in your organization or business.

P.S. Photo taken from Sugar Loaf courtesy of Rich Pope.
My grandpa Dorrie Steinhoff was born in 1888 in a dug-out in Sugar Loaf. His parents, first generation Americans, had just moved to Iowa from Ohio. But that’s an entirely different story. Some day I could write about the civility of his dad who always killed a chicken to give the Native Americans on their spring and fall migrations along the trail at the edge of the Loess Hills.

P.P.S. Kelvin Leibold, Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist, presents a session "The Dating Game--Acquiring Land to Rent" for beginning and experienced producers.


Civility does matter in the workplace. I accepted my current position in large measure because I knew people working there from a previous job. From that experience, I recognized them as good and kind people who I could trust and respect. We should never forget that how we've acted in the past can either come back to haunt us or influence someone's future decisions in a positive way.

Civility is challenged by the increased revenue resulting from higher crop prices.