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  • PO Box 306, 101 Main St. West Branch, IA 52358
  • (319) 800-8108
  • PO Box 306, 101 Main St. West Branch, IA 52358
  • 319.800.8108


SILT: Affordable land access for healthy food farmers.

SILT uses land donations and land protection agreements to make land affordable for generations of healthy food.

Land protection agreements, called conservation easements, keep the land in the family but limit future uses to farming. Land with such agreements can be bought and sold among farmers but must always be kept primarily in sustainable food farming (SILT supports diversified farming operations that include fiber, flowers, timber and other products). The inability for any other uses reduces the cost of that land for generations to come, but SILT monitors those easements annually to maintain the integrity of the donor’s original intent.farmers. Land lease rates on SILT-owned land are flexible, reduced for the number and quality of sustainable practices you choose to employ to heal damaged soil life. We do this to encourage such practices and help new farmers get the best start, but we don’t allow you to undercut the local market while enjoying the discounted rental price.

It’s about access to affordable land, first.

  • Farmers who opt to rent SILT-owned land will enjoy long-term, inheritable (predictable!) beginning farmersground leases while gaining equity in your home, barn and business.
  • Farmers who would prefer to purchase land can shop statewide for farmland protected by sustainable agricultural agreements that remove price pressure from development and commodity crops.

If you are or know Iowa landowners interested in donating land or easements, contact us today to follow up. 

Sustainability Guidelines and Requirements

Farmers of all ages and experiences developed SILT’s vetting criteria for new SILT farmers. Read these before applying to a SILT farm.

Time on the land, not in your truck.

SILT is targeting parcels of all sizes near major metro areas, giving you proximity to a local foods direct-sale, retail and wholesale market. Eventually, SILT expects to be active in supporting food hubs and aggregators to increase odds of success and meet your needs from seed to sale.

Not quite ready to start farming? 

SILT will continue to network with farmer education organizations such as Practical Farmers of Iowa, Women, Food and Agriculture NetworkMOSES and the Land Stewardship Project to inform you of every chance to improve your skill set and practices, build a business plan that will success, seek out the right markets for you and more.

Interested in local food systems? Sign up today to help incorporate SILT’s work into our regional and local food movement.

Do you know great places for farmers to learn sustainable practices? Contact us today so we can add it to our online list of resources. Or share them on our Facebook page – thanks!

“When there’s plenty of money, the speculators and bankers beg it first, and the farmers always lose out in the long run. What we need is a law to fix the value of land and remove it from speculators.”  1916. 

Three Miles Square. Paul Corey. 1939