Farming is a family business. More than 97 percent of the state’s 88,000 farms are family owned, according to the latest census of agriculture data. Just like Iowans who live in urban areas, Iowa’s farm families want pure-tasting water, and they take care of the land to protect the water.
One of the proudest moments of a farmer’s life is when their sons or daughters join the business. By protecting and improving their valuable soil, Iowa’s farmers have a rich history of passing the farm to the next generation.
There are more than 19,000 century farms in Iowa. Keeping a farm in the family for 100 years is quite an accomplishment when you consider the challenges and unexpected hurdles farmers face. It shows how dedicated Iowa’s farmers are to their land.
The Bakker family from Grundy County received their Century Farm award in 2017.
Every day, fourth-generation farmer Jarrod Bakker says he’s thankful to be part of a multigenerational farm family. “My dad taught me the importance of taking care of the land. He taught me that if I continue to improve the soil, I’ll be able to pass the farm on to my children,” he said. “I see how much my children enjoy growing up on the farm and I know it will be important for them to take care of the land to continue the tradition.”
Iowa is known for having some of the world’s most fertile soil. By improving the soil for the next generation, farmers are caring for the water. The water that falls from the sky and onto the ground and into the streams and rivers is also the water they use on a daily basis.