The summer has come and gone, and along the Wabash Trace the visible signs of fall are here to stay (for at least a little while). As the trees are changing colors and the trail surface becomes scattered with leaves (and walnuts!), we can also see the farmers harvesting their fields alongside the trail. As the combines fill the grain carts, wagons and semis with corn and soybeans and their bounty is either taken to grain bins for storage or to the local elevators, the farmers watch their hard work for the entire year get reduced to counts of bushels and acres.
Similar to handlebar time, lots of time behind the wheel of the combine or tractor at harvest time provides plenty of opportunity for contemplation... Did I plant the right variety of beans? Is my corn yielding as high as it should be? Should I sell or store? Am I going to get my cover crop planted in time? What can I do better next year? Did I shut the water off to the cattle? How can I donate some of this year's crop to the Wabash Trace? Well, maybe not ALL farmers have that last question on their radar, but it's something that was on Mark Peterson's mind. And last year along with his local co-op, we helped Mark answer that question (sorry we can't help you with the answers to the others, Mark!). It really was quite simple, too! SWINT (Southwest Iowa Nature Trails) just set up an account with the local elevator, and then Mark hauled in a load and told them to put it under our account. When the transaction happens in this manner, it not only helps the farmer easily make a donation to the trail, but they can also realize some tax benefits. When donating grain this way, farmers can reduce their taxable income while still deducting production costs for the donated grain.
Mark and Melanie Peterson operate Bent Gate Farm outside of Stanton, where they have raised corn, soybeans, cover crops, cattle, and five boys. They are involved with Practical Farmers of Iowa and are avid bicyclists. The Wabash Trace is an important asset to Mark and Melanie not only for the health and wellness opportunities it provides, but also the social and recreational aspects. They enjoy riding the Wabash Trace with their sons and grandchildren (pictured below), making multi-generational memories - just like on the farm! We're sharing Mark's story in hopes that it inspires others to give in the same way. We currently have an account set up at United Farmers Cooperative (with grain handling locations in Essex, Red Oak, Villisca, and across the state) but can easily set up accounts at other facilities. Please contact Becca at 515-210-0269 or email@example.com or if you're interested in learning more!