In a giant leap toward effective landowner services, SILT hired Joe Klingelhutz of Solon as its first Farm and Realty (FARM) Specialist Sept. 4. Joe is a recent graduate of Iowa State University (Magna cum laude) with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Forestry. He has spent his summers working at vegetable farms such as Sundog Farm and Wildwoods Farm, and ran a forestry crew in the Western U.S. His undergraduate work included hands-on experience with Iowa State’s Prairie STRIPS project and riparian buffers. 

“This is a great opportunity for SILT to offer full-time, professional consultations to Iowa landowners,” said Executive Director Suzan Erem. “Joe will be able to work with landowners to discover which vegetables, fruit and pastured livestock their land can grow in a nature-friendly way, stacking the benefits of conservation with the benefits of supporting a new farm family someday.”

The new position, funded by the Natural Resource Conservation Service for 5 years, is unique, Erem said. She nor anyone she spoke with at NRCS knows of anyone in Iowa equipped with the span of expertise Joe will acquire through SILT’s specialized training over the next 6 months. He will learn conservation planning, sustainable table food farming and how to help landowners permanently protect their land for future generations.  

Interested landowners can reach Joe at He asks that you give him a month or so to get a hang of the job first though!