Five local farmers secured the parcels of land through soil conservation easements.
In a remarkable auction, the prized “crown jewels” of the Garst family farmland in Iowa were sold today for a staggering $19,262,308.
The auction, which saw spirited bidding from 27 participants, took place in downtown Coon Rapids, with 31 sealed bids received by the August 6 deadline. The eight tracts of land, totaling 1,998.04 acres and spread across Carroll, Audubon, Greene, and Guthrie Counties, were secured by five local farmers at an average price of $9,641 per acre.
The breakdown of the auction results is as follows:
- 160 acres m/l sold for $11,700/acre
- 80 acres m/l sold for $9,600/acre
- 80 acres m/l sold for $8,850/acre
- 240 acres m/l sold for $11,000/acre
- 493.23 acres m/l sold for $9,700/acre
- 463.93 acres m/l sold for $9,700/acre
- 429.88 acres m/l sold for $8,700/acre
- 51 acres m/l sold for $4,900/acre
Of these acres, 46.38 are enrolled in a Conservation Reserve Program.
An important aspect of the auction was that all acres are placed under a soil conservation easement, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at ensuring sustainable agricultural practices are employed on the farms, while also preserving the existing conservation measures and structures. The Garst family’s dedication to conservation and sustainability is evident through this easement, aligning with their long-held values.
The specified practices for these farms include no-till farming, annual cover crop plantings post-harvest with continuous, living roots in the soil, and maintenance of existing terraces and waterways. This continuation of the Garst family’s time-honored farming practices serves as a strong foundation for maintaining soil health.
Conservation easements, which are permanent agreements, allow landowners to retain ownership and control while voluntarily relinquishing certain rights that could potentially harm the land. This agreement extends to future landowners, ensuring lasting protection and adherence to the conservation vision set forth by the original landowners.
In an extraordinary act of philanthropy, the Garst family donated the easements to Whiterock Conservancy, entrusting the organization with monitoring and upholding the conservation values embodied by the easement. As technology and farming practices evolve over time, Whiterock Conservancy’s Land Manager will collaborate with the new landowners to ensure the continuation of sustainable practices on these revered farmlands.
This auction signifies a significant milestone, not only in the history of the Garst family farmland but also in the realm of conservation efforts in Iowa. The preservation of this cherished land will endure for generations to come, a testament to the enduring legacy of the Garst family and their commitment to environmental stewardship.