Today I would like to share with you a story about a man named Iver; a story about a need Iver had; a story about how his need could have been met, but as with many things in life, the solution was discovered just a little too late.
Iver is a widower who lives in a small town in northwest Iowa. He has 2 children, one who lives in Omaha, one who lives in Colorado. Iver retired from farming about 10 years ago and moved to town after holding an auction to sell his acreage. He still owns 1200 acres of farmland, and rents it out to a neighbor.
Neither of Iver’s children are interested in coming back to run the farm. In fact, they are less than interested. They have told Iver he should just sell it – the land is worth a lot of money, after all.
Every morning, after having a cup of coffee at home, Iver puts on his seed corn cap, climbs in his pickup and drives down to the local coffee shop to see what the news is in town, particularly at the elevator. After this ritual, he climbs back in his truck and drives out to his land, to see what’s new today.
Of course, not much is ever all that new. It’s land after all. Most changes that take place, do so gradually. But, the fact that there isn’t anything new to see doesn’t lessen Iver’s devotion. To him it is like peeking in on his children when they were young and still asleep. Changes came slowly then, too, but he never missed an opportunity to enjoy that moment.
Iver parks for a few minutes on the field drive of each farm, and ponders. He ponders many things but mostly he ponders what will become of his land when he dies. He loves this land. It has taken care of him his whole life. And he has taken care of it. He is certain that once he is gone, his children will sell this land, even though he has implored them to keep it, and once or twice they even assured him they would.
And, he thinks about Jacob, the 30-something, with 2 small kids of his own, who is just gaining enough acres for his career in farming to start showing some rewards. Jacob couldn’t afford to buy Iver’s land, but Jacob is satisfied with the security of renting quality land from someone like Iver.
Finally Iver returns home for his afternoon nap and then to prepare himself supper, maybe watch the game.
One day Iver finally decided it was time to do something about the future of his land. So he sat down with the local lawyer in town and wrote up his will, leaving 400 acres each to his two children. The remaining 400 acres he left to his church.
Well, what I haven’t told you about Iver is that 3 months after drawing up his will, Iver suffered a stroke and died within a week. And, 3 months later, after his will had cleared probate, the three entities took possession of their respective 400 acres of land. And, 3 months after that, each of those 400 acres of land went up on three separate auction blocks.
And, 3 months after that, Iver’s lawyer learned about Growing Hope Foundation, which he knows now could have prevented Iver’s land from being sold, and subsequently prevented Jacob from losing the opportunity to rent those 1200 acres of farmland to a higher bidder.
Because, had Iver placed his land in a trust to be managed by Growing Hope, and specified that his children and his church be the recipients of the income off the farmland, the land would not have been sold. And not only that, Jacob would still be the tenant.
Iver’s story is not unique. Iver had a need – to figure out what to do with his land. Growing Hope has a solution. If you know someone like Iver, I would invite you to let them know about our work, that we may help them meet their objectives for the future of their land.