One-woman play explores topic of ag land transfers

Actress Lindsay Bauer performs as Mary Swander in the one-woman play, “Map of My Kingdom.”

The point is: Families need to talk about the issues involved in the transfer of ag land ownership, and plan for that eventual transfer.
Actress Lindsay Bauer made that point while portraying Angela Martin, a lawyer and mediator in land transition disputes.
The one-woman production, “Map of My Kingdom,” written by Mary Swander, poet laureate of Iowa, was presented to a small audience Sunday afternoon, June 9, at the Boone Central High School Performance Gym.
Stories related in the play included examples of land transfers that went well, and some that didn’t.
One of the stories was about how “grandma” sold her farm by knocking on the neighbor’s door, telling him her land was for sale, setting the price and meeting at the lawyer’s office the following Monday to sign papers.
In other cases, when no pre-planning was done about how the land was to be transferred, there was family strife that lasted a lifetime. In one case, one brother was murdered by another over a land transfer dispute.
Swander emphasized the point that land ownership comes and goes, but the land remains permanent.
“For most farmers I know, owning land means everything,” said Swander. The equitable transfer of land is an age-old problem. It is the topic of stories dating back to the Bible, to Shakespeare’s King Lear and to Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!
At the end of the hour-long program, rural advocate Randy Lukasiewicz emphasized the point that advance planning is always needed in cases where property is to be transferred. He said the lack of planning is a problem in many cases, especially when the property owner dies unexpectedly.