In Perpetuity

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farm vision.JPG

Back in my Masters degree days, Dr. Terry Cooper gave our Soils class an assignment to take an actual farm area in Minnesota and use the soils data to create your dream land use. I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun with an assignment. I saved the resulting drawing- replete with lamas, wild rice, tea and herb gardens on a farm site I chose in Dodge County, MN.

So now we are doing a similar exercise for real. A contingent of US Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resource Conservation District, and Ducks Unlimited folks pulled into our driveway in a convoy of white federal pick up trucks. They laid out some really tempting visions for a grass based farm. We focused on the wetland/grassland restoration lined in purple. It is a beautiful vision—working lands—grazing cattle.

The hitch is that it is in perpetuity. Forever. That concerns Mike especially. We’ve hardly owned this farm any time at all and now we’re talking about ceding 1/3 of it to federal government oversight?

Kids are up… More later…

3 Comments

Well done Kathy and Mike...

As a high school classmate of both Mike Jorgenson and Bruce Swezey, I always felt "The Boys" had the Home Farm in their blood and would return to the Land forever. Now they both have and it makes me proud of them because I know they could have made easier economic choices along the path (this is the first time I have voiced this openly, as I think that little finger wave off the steering wheel when you meet on the road is often emotion enough for rural people).

I'm not sure what my opinion is worth on such a topic, but I do know that "In Perpetuity" is a long time, especially with farmland at $3500 per acre and current opportunities with cash grain. Several years ago, Beth's mother Dellas put some streamside land and potholes in CREP for 99 years, which sure sounds a lot like "in perpetuity." Some of that land was previously in Soil Bank/Water Bank and a portion of that is believed to be virgin prairie. My personal opinion is that this land is really a tribute to my father-in-law Orrin, a man of God's Earth who enjoyed an evening walk on The Land and how those small set-aside lands made all the surrounding cultivated land all the more beautiful and full of life. Orrin's middle name is Steward, and he certainly was a steward of the land.

As you seek guidance from God and each other, perhaps consider if you aren't put there just for this reason. The best stories are when "good things" conflict, and I believe this is a great story and allegory because I don't think there is a "wrong decision" whatever you decide.

Having recently viewed the film "Sweet Land" I thought of Mike as Olaf Torvik, the resolute Scandinavian farmer who "has work in the fields." This is probably a Pollyanish romanticized view from a town kid who can barely drive a tractor, but I do know there's nothing more purifying than a walk on the prairie. Whatever you decide will be a good decision because you will be planting seeds, either way.


Dale,

What a thoughtful response. Thank you. We really are checking in with our friends and family as we craft our vision of this land and our legacy on it. You made a really wonderful contribution for us to consider. Will we we see you out here for the Arctic Opener?

Kathy

Impressive job on your post. You've made quite a few updates since I stopped by a couple of weeks ago.

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This page contains a single entry by Kathryn Draeger published on January 27, 2008 12:43 PM.

Counting keys (blessings) was the previous entry in this blog.

Inner Apocalypt Part II is the next entry in this blog.

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