Iowa has a global reputation for its fertile soil and all of the agricultural products we raise on it — and a new book is both a memoir and a call to action to preserve and respect that valuable ground. Professor Neil Hamilton, who recently retired after 36 years directing the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University, says he allows the land to tell its own story in his book, “The Land Remains.”
Hamilton grew up in southern Iowa’s Adams County near Lenox. In recent years, he sold the final piece of his family farm to a young neighbor farmer, enabling the agricultural cycle to continue.
While the book tells the history of Iowa land conservation, Hamilton says it’s also an analysis of contemporary issues dealing with soil health, water quality, public lands, and future challenges.
One message of the book is to have optimism, he says, as we can find hope and resiliency from the land by examining how new attitudes can address past abuses. Hamilton notes how demand for better food is creating opportunities for better land stewardship — and new farmers. The book is available through many Iowa bookstores and the publisher, Ice Cube Press, based in North Liberty.