Barb Green loved her family farm, animals and southwest Iowa.
Green, who died in February 2019, left behind gifts that will help students pursue agriculture or veterinary careers.
The Pottawattamie County Community Foundation said Green bequeathed about 900 acres of farmland to the foundation to be used to fund a scholarship to Iowa State University students pursuing degrees in agriculture or animal care.
Foundation President and CEO Donna Dostal and Iowa State University said an estimated $75,000 to $100,000 in scholarships will be offered annually, starting with the class of 2021. The scholarship is open to all Iowans, with preference given to students from Pottawattamie, Mills and Montgomery Counties.
“It’s a tremendous act of generosity on her part. The land was so important to her. Her horses were so important to her,” Dostal said. “She wanted to make sure farming stays vibrant in southwest Iowa and Iowa as a whole. This is a gift that will have a tremendous impact on our state for generations to come.”
Details, including how many students per year will receive scholarships, are still being worked on.
“Anything from ag finance, ag tech, veterinary medicine, there’s a myriad of opportunities at Iowa State,” Dostal said. “We’ve been working closely with Iowa State and the Southwest Iowa Education Foundation” on scholarship parameters.
“This is an amazing gift and one that will encourage and assist students who want to pursue a career in agriculture and attend Iowa State University for years to come,” Daniel J. Robison, holder of the Endowed Dean’s Chair in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said in a release from the university.
Green’s great-grandparents, Charles and Julia Green, bought a stretch of 250 acres south of Council Bluffs in 1874. They had recently moved to America from Slesvig, Germany.
In 2010, Green told the Nonpareil she remembered walking the grounds of the family farm with her father, Gustave, as a young girl. They’d check on the poultry and dairy cows, tend to the needs of the beef cattle and make sure everything on the farm was in order. She remembers fishing on lakes and ponds with Dad and her brother, Roger.
The land earned Iowa Century Farm distinction that year.
“Barb spent her entire life around agriculture and animals. She was proud of her cats and was an avid member of the quarter horse community. Most of all, she was honored that her family’s farm was recognized as a Century Farm in the state of Iowa,” said local attorney Eric Hamilton, who served as executor of Green’s estate. “As a lifelong resident of Pottawattamie County, she wanted to make sure her family’s legacy and farm would live on long after her death. The endowment of her farm to PCCF to be used for scholarships at Iowa State in the agriculture and veterinary fields will forever be a reminder of her generosity and caring for this community.”
Dostal said the foundation now owns the Green farmland — which the family grew over the years, there are two parcels in the Council Bluffs area, along with a third between Carson and Macedonia. The foundation has created a separate limited liability corporation to run the farm, cash renting it to farmers. Dostal said the governing board of the LLC is made up mostly of area farmers with the expertise to manage the operation. The foundation estimated the land is worth around $6 million.
Proceeds from the cash rental to farmers will fund the scholarships.
“There are very few organizations or institutions that will take those gifts of land and keep them and use them. Mostly they’ll liquidate them and put into funds, utilize the gift in different ways,” Dostal said, noting that Green stipulated in her gift that the land remain a farm. “This is a very specific wish.”
Additionally, Green sold her personal real estate and property and split the proceeds between the foundation and Midlands Humane Society. That gift totaled $566,580 for the foundation and $141,582 for the humane society.
“It was a huge donation that were so thankful for,” said Nikki Cruickshank, Midlands executive director. “We will work through our board of directors to find where it’s most appropriate to use the funds. It will have a major impact on the animals that we help.”
Dostal said Green’s impact will be felt for years to come.
“We’re excited about this opportunity to fulfill the wishes of Barb Green,” Dostal said, “and open opportunities for other people in the region who want to see land farmed. This scholarship will create solutions for families just like Barb Green’s.”