Conservation Easement on Iowa Farm Requires Perennial Food Production in Perpetuity

Tom Wahl and Kathy Dice, owners of Red Fern Farm in Wapello, Iowa, donated a conservation easement to the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) in December, permanently protecting their 86 acres for perennial agriculture. SILT notes that this is the first easement of its kind known in Iowa. The farm contains “wild timber along with 22-plus acres in a planted mosaic of mature and immature chestnut, pawpaw, persimmon, black walnut, heartnut, plum, Asian pear and other food-producing perennial trees.” Landowner Tom Wahl explained, “Time and again I have seen where fruit and nut plantings that took a lifetime of work to build were bulldozed away in a matter of hours. This easement will ensure this does not happen at Red Fern Farm once we’re gone.” The easement brings SILT to more than 1,000 acres of protected farms across Iowa.