Dickinson County Supervisors Hear Presentation From Sustainable Iowa Land Trust

Tue 2-16-2021

(Spirit Lake)-- The Dickinson County Board of Supervisors today (Tues.) heard a presentation from the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust, or SILT. Suzan Erem told the board the organization's primary goal is to protect land to grow table food through organic means...Silt01 

"And so across Iowa we've protected more than 1,100 acres with conservation easements that are attached to a deed so if someone maintains the ownership of their property entirely they give away their rights to develop it and they make a commitment to keep that land in sustainable table food production, or through land donations. Some folks have left us their land, given it to us outright, or given it to us with a reserved life estate which means they give us the deed but they live there and enjoy it and take rent it from it or whatever they need."

Erem says the pandemic this past year has shown a real need for locally grown produce and food supplies...Silt02 

"In fact what we're struggling with is finding enough new farmers for it. The market is there. Organic alone went up 16 percent last year in sales. And like I said our own experience is that local is more popular than ever. I think it's an opportunity to simply diversify our ag economy. It's never going to replace it and it shouldn't."

Erem says SILT is also promoting the establishment of so-call “agri community” developments...Silt03 

"It's really a trip win. It's affordable land for farmers because we keep it protected so it can't be developed in the future. It's a big win for the developer and it's huge for the local food system. If you're trying to re-build your local food system you have a farm that's basically being supported in some part not only for retail sales, but by the homeowner association fees or by the home transfer fees to keep it going. And so it tends to be better resourced than other local food farms that are food striping and we're hoping it will be a bit of a center or a hub for other food farmers that are needing some help, you know, with equipment."

More information about the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust can be found at