I am so pleased that Iroquois Valley Farms has put its confidence in Jim and Julie Petersen as well as the next generation of organic farmers in the Petersen Family: Justin and his new wife, Rachel; Jacob and his wife Lauren; and Josh and Jenny. Together the Petersens will shepherd 320 acres of Iroquois Valley Farms-financed farmland for organic grains, cattle and sheep production.
Partnerships like this one need to happen thousands of times over in the coming years if we are to restore soil, sequester carbon and provide habitat on America's farmland. When the sellers -- Charlotte Shivvers, Martha Skillman and their late sister, Marietta Shivvers Carr -- inherited farmland in the early 1990s, they were clear about their conservation goals. It took them years, though, to find the farmers who would implement that environmental ethic on their land. In 2006 they began renting to Jim Petersen, a cousin, who began transitioning the Shivvers land to organic production. After proving themselves as tenants, Jim and Julie purchased 200 acres on generous terms from the Shivvers in prior transactions.
Iroquois Valley Farms has just financed the remainder of the acreage that the Shivvers owned, so their tenure on the land -- which began in 1903 -- is now complete.
Justin and Rachel are moving into the lovely homestead that Charlotte and her husband, Bob Baker, most recently occupied, and will now host the family on the front porch, just like the Shivvers did for more than 100 years. Thank you to Charlotte, to Martha, to Jim and his family-and to Iroquois Valley Farms-for making this successful farm transition happen.
Iroquois Valley Farms Board Manager and Project Director, Conservation Innovation Grant
Former Executive Director, Practical Farmers of Iowa