Map of My Kingdom

By Taylor on January 6, 2015 in Blog

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 10.46.55 AM

With an aging population of Iowa landowners, more than half of the farmland in the state will be transferred to new owners in the coming decades. Fifty six percent of Iowa farmland is owned by people over the age of 65, and 30 percent is owned by those over 75, according to Iowa State University’s 2012 report “Farmland Ownership and Tenure Report in Iowa.”

With this in mind, Iowa’s poet laureate Mary Swander wrote a play exploring issues surrounding farmland transition. Map of My Kingdom, which was commissioned by Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI), will be performed at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 11 in the Church of the Land at Living History Farms.

In the drama, Angela Martin, a lawyer and mediator in land transition disputes, shares stories of how farmers and landowners she has worked with over the years approached their land successions. Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation will have staff on hand before and after the performance to discuss ways that INHF assists landowners with this transition.

“We are on the cusp of a monumental transfer in farmland ownership,” said Teresa Opheim, Executive Director of Practical Farmers of Iowa. “Many farmers will lose their farmland during this transition. They will be unable to purchase the land when their current landlords die and heirs want to cash out. The farmland transition is exacerbated by steep land prices, which make it very difficult for beginning farmers to get started.”

Farm transfer and land ownership issues will be a major focus of PFI’s annual conference, Jan. 23-24 in Ames. There will be a performance of Map of My Kingdom at the conference, as well as multiple sessions exploring farmland ownership topics.

Here are more opportunities to see the play throughout Iowa in the coming months:

Ames: Friday, Jan. 23, 6 p.m., Practical Farmers of Iowa Conference, Scheman Building

Forest City: Thursday, Feb. 19, 7 p.m., Waldorf College

Orange City:  Saturday, Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m., DeWitt Theatre Arts Center, Northwestern College

Storm Lake: Tuesday, Feb. 24, 7 p.m., Anderson Auditorium, Buena Vista University

Dubuque, IA., Thursday, March 26, 6:30 p.m., Shalom Retreat Center