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Garst Family Farm Legacy And Iowa Historian Completes 371 Mile Walking Journey

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

The Garst family of Coon Rapids has been incredibly influential in agriculture in Iowa and around the world for decades. Roswell was a risk-taking visionary. He helped found Garst Seed Company, one of the early creators of hybrid corn seeds in 1931. Later, he invited Soviet Leader Nikita Kruschev to visit his Iowa farm, and in 1959, at the height of the Cold War, Kruschev came.

The Garst family farms were also early adopters of conservation practices, and that’s the legacy the family has focused on in recent years. They founded the White Rock Conservancy in 2004, and now the family is selling the last of its privately-held land, with a unique conservation easement attached, the first of its kind.

Also in this episode, historian Kevin Mason has done a lot of walking this summer. He is an assistant professor of history at Waldorf University in Forest City, and he decided to retrace the journey the Iowa Dragoons took in 1835 on foot. He walked 371 miles, part of an effort to write a comparative environmental history of Iowa and how the state has changed over the last 186 years.


  • Liz Garst, Garst family business manager
  • Kevin Mason, assistant professor of history, Waldorf University
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River