- Associated Press - Monday, February 16, 2015

LYTTON, Iowa (AP) - Farmers and their families discussed how they can make better decisions on farmland ownership following an Iowa play which focused on the issue.

During Sunday’s performance of the play titled “Map of My Kingdom” at The Friendship Center in Lytton, Angela Martin, portrayed by Elizabeth Thompson, told the audience how her grandmother’s decision to sell the farm without consulting the family affected her and how similar situations affected other families.

During an organized discussion after the play, Lytton native Darsi Haddleson said she related to the story because her husband’s father sold their farm without family input, the Fort Dodge Messenger reported (https://bit.ly/17HRYEt ). She said her family now rents the land they farm, but she said her husband would have preferred the option to own it.

Theresa Opheim, executive director of the Practical Farms of Iowa, said these types of transitions are likely to become more common, with 35 percent of farmland owned by people over 75 years old. Opheim and other members of the organization said the purpose of the play was to get families talking about their goals for their farmland and deciding how to financially and legally reach them.

“The biggest thing that we want to put out there on the table is to start talking about this idea,” said Kurt Vanhulzen, a Practical Farms of Iowa board member who led the discussion. “This is an issue that is going to take some communication.

And maintaining family involvement is possible, said Carolyn Ashbaugh, a Sac City woman whose father transferred his farmland to her and her siblings. She said her family began the transition process early to ensure it went smoothly.


Information from: The Messenger, https://www.messengernews.net

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