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Farmland that keeps on giving

A new program will help area farmland owners keep their land in production, under local ownership and benefit local charities well into the future.

West Central Initiative (WCI) recently launched the Heart-Land Giving program. It’s a tool that landowners can use for charitable giving and estate planning goals when there’s no one to pass their land to; perhaps they don’t have children or their children are not interested in farming.

The Heart-Land Giving program allows landowners to donate their land to WCI through a planned giving option.

In return, the donation provides donor tax benefits, keeps the farm locally run and retains a county tax base, all while producing revenue for charitable organizations.

The three giving options for landowners are:

1. Gifting the land to the WCI unrestricted endowment, which supports all the programs that WCI offers in the region.

2. Gifting the land to an existing component fund, a list of which can be found on the West Central Initiative website.

3. Establishing a donor-advised fund and help determine where grants are directed.

The program is available to tillable farmland owners in Douglas, Becker, Clay, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin counties.

Tom McSperron of WCI noted, “As we have been talking with professional advisors and some individuals who have shown interest in Heart-Land Giving, we have received many positive reactions. We look forward to working with them and we understand that a decision to make a gift of this type will take careful consideration and review by both the donor and their advisors.”

Nancy Straw, WCI president, added, “We understand that landowners are deeply and personally connected to their farmland. For those who have charitable intentions, the Heart-Land Giving program offers the opportunity to keep the asset in production and under local ownership. It also allows the donor to leave a legacy to benefit local charities that make the community stronger and a better place to live.”

For more information, contact Kim Embretson or Tom McSparron at West Central Initiative at 1-800-735-2239 or visit

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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