Ann Smeltzer Charitable Trust was established by the courts from the Ann Smeltzer Estate. The nine trustees represent her life and interest. A paramount interest during Ann’s life was the importance of environmental issues and conservation practices. The trustees have adopted these principals in their mission and objectives particularly in developing priorities for the uses of the 2500 acres of farmland.
The Ann Smeltzer Trust/Iowa Learning Farm relationship is a public-private partnership that highlights conservation practices and projects for soil, water and wildlife environments. The 157 acre farm, at Otho, is managed to produce row crops and to be commercially profitable. In addition, demonstrations are selected to be compatible with the topography, agriculture innovations and practical applications. The Trust seeks cost sharing programs, grants and partners to extend the impact and education to the region.
Future plans for the Otho farm include: controlled drainage; expanded signage; revised printed materials; information for a web-site; improved access with a pedestrian bridge; and increased public outreach. Other Smeltzer Farms have incorporated conservation projects, ie: setting aside wetlands, establishing prairie and wildlife habitat, using innovative soil tillage practices and prudent uses of pesticides and fertilizer.