Decorah resident and former farmland owner featured in new book

For Release: September 15, 2016

DECORAH, Iowa — Dale Nimrod of Decorah is featured in a new book, “The Future of Family Farms: Practical Farmers’ Legacy Letters Project,” just published by University of Iowa Press.

The book gathers the letters and stories of families about the land they cherish – how they acquired it, what they treasure most about it and their hopes for its future. Some of the writers descend from families who have owned a particular patch of earth since the 1800s, while others became farmland owners more recently.

Some in the book, such as Dale and his siblings Vance Nimrod and Faith Sherman, are no longer farmland owners at all, because after careful thought about what matters most to them, they sold their land to the next generation of farmers.

“Dale’s story is one of my favorites in the book,” says Teresa Opheim, who compiled the volume and directs Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Farm Transfer Program. “His parents purchased a farm in southwest Iowa in 1944, but his father died before he had an opportunity to work the place. His mother was determined to raise her family on the farm, a feat Dale thinks would have been difficult without the support of the small town of Stanton, Iowa, and the local church. None of the three Nimrod children grew up to be farmers; years later, they decided the best way to pay back the community was to, as Dale says, ‘find a nice young family who would appreciate the land, the community and the church and would invest themselves in caring for all three.’”

Finding the right family involved sleuthing and then putting together a generous and innovative financing plan. “It is a misperception, I think, that selling to the highest bidder is the only way to be fair when disposing of property,” Dale says.

“We are so pleased that so many farmland and former-farmland owners like Dale are willing to share their stories for this book,” Teresa says. “They are leaders in tackling farmland succession issues, which are affecting so many people. Forty percent of America’s farmland is owned by those ages 65 and older, so now more than ever, it is time for farmland owners to think through the legacy they want to leave behind.”

The book is receiving national attention. “The Future of Family Farms is a timely and important new book,” says Julia Freedgood of the American Farmland Trust. “The Practical Farmers’ stories are both moving and relevant, reinforcing the need for families not only to have shared commitment but also a vision and plan for the future – whether they’ve been farming for more than a hundred years or are beginning farmers.”

According to Jim Habana Hafner of Land for Good, based in New Hampshire, “PFI and its members are an inspiration! They remind us all that family, community and stewardship are at the heart of farming. Their stories are a call to action to everyone who ‘belongs to the land’: Start the conversation today about your farm’s legacy.”

To order the book, visit Help for writing your own farm legacy letter is available at www.practicalfarmers/org/farmtransfer.


Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit


Teresa Opheim | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |