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Over 1,900 acres of Garst farms sell for over $19 million

Five local farmers secure the parcels of land in soil conservation easements.

The “crown jewels” of the historic Garst family farmland in Iowa sold today for a grand total of $19,262,308 at auction.

As Peoples Company auctioneer Jared Chambers says, “It doesn’t take long to sell good farmland.”

Out of the 31 sealed bids submitted by deadline on August 6, 27 bidders attended the live, absolute auction in downtown Coon Rapids. Eight tracts of land totaling 1,998.04 acres were available across Carroll, Audubon, Greene, and Guthrie Counties.

Five different bidders, all local farmers, purchased the tracts at an average of $9,641 per acre.


Here is the breakdown:

  • Tract 1 - 160 acres m/l sold for $11,700/acre
  • Tract 2 - 80 acres m/l sold for $9,600/acre
  • Tract 3 - 80 acres m/l sold for $8,850/acre
  • Tract 4 - 240 acres m/l sold for $11,000/acre
  • Tract 5 - 493.23 acres m/l sold for $9,700/acre
  • Tract 6 - 463.93 acres m/l sold for $9,700/acre
  • Tract 7 - 429.88 acres m/l sold for $8,700/acre
  • Tract 8 - 51 acres* m/l sold for $4,900/acre

Tracts 1-7, mostly tillable farm land, sold at an average of $11,461 per acre.

All acres are placed under a soil conservation easement, the first of its kind, that will ensure certain sustainable agriculture practices be used on the farms and that conservation measures and structures currently utilized on the farms be maintained.

This easement aligns with values long held by the Garst family, who have been strong advocates of conservation and sustainability.

The practices include no-till farming, annual cover crop plantings post-harvest with the basis of having continuous, living roots in the soil, and maintenance of existing terraces and waterways.

“What is unique with this easement is that it’s a continuation of how the Garst family has been managing these farms for years,” Steve Bruere, president of Peoples Company says. “They want to preserve those farming practices that continue to build on the soil health foundation they’ve created.”


Conservation easements are permanent agreements made between landowners and conservation organizations that allow a landowner to maintain ownership and control of the land while voluntarily giving up rights to actions that could damage the land.

This permanent agreement applies to any future landowner as well, creating lasting protection. The conservation organization that holds the easement ensures current and future owners continue to meet the conservation vision of the landowners who established the conservation easement.

The Garst family donated the easements to Whiterock Conservancy for the organization to monitor and provide guidance on the conservation values upheld by the easement. Whiterock Conservancy’s Land Manager will work with the new landowners as technology and farming practices continue to evolve over time.

*Of these acres, 46.38 are enrolled in a Conservation Reserve Program. 

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