Family bequeaths farm to PFI
By Jean Caspers-Simmet, Published 3/05/2013
AMES, Iowa —Tom and Irene Frantzen’s desire to preserve their New Hampton land for generations to come led them to bequeath the 300-acre certified organic farm to Practical Farmers of Iowa.
They announced the transition plan at the recent PFI conference in Ames.
Their voices choking with emotion, the couple offered the details of their bequest.
Tom shared how he was moved by Pope John Paul’s words “the land is yours to be preserved generation upon generation,” when the pontiff visited Des Moines in 1979. As “a busy young farmer,” Tom declined his mother’s invitation to see the pope. He stayed home to paint the barn but listened on the radio.
“I was dumbstruck,” Tom said. “In the years that followed on the farm, we walked by faith and not by sight. We had a direction of stewardship but each step brought uncertainty.”
He said the Land Stewardship Project in Minnesota and PFI made the journey easier.
Tom and Irene put their farm goals and values into writing when they took a holistic management course a few years later. They wanted “a profitable, diversified family farm that was healthy, pleasant and stable.”
When the couple began to talk about generational transfer four years ago, their holistic management experience gave them a decision-making guide as they thought about what they wanted long term.
“We wrote a generational goal that we wanted long-term protection for a true Iowa family farm that has significant conservation features blended into the working landscape,” Irene said.
The farm’s 300 acres of crops support a 30-sow farrow to finish operation and a 60-head beef cow-calf herd.