Background: Selling the Farm

February, 2016

As part of the settlement of my parents’ estate back in 2008, I inherited one of the farms they had owned — the so-called “home place” located in the state of Iowa (U.S.) where I’d grown up. With the buildings long since removed, there really wasn’t any sentimental value to the land, but I was nevertheless excited to be taking ownership of it.

Because I’d spent my working years in big cities, plopped down behind an IBM terminal, I was an admitted ignoramus when it came to the actual business of farming. From my childhood I could vaguely recall that it involved putting something into the ground, watching it grow for a few months, then chopping it up (?) and selling it. Fortunately, I was able to retain the tenants who had worked for my parents. They continued to do the planting and harvesting with everything split fifty—fifty between us. From my modest Bangkok abode, I only needed to mail a few checks to cover my share of the seed and fertilizer bills, then sell my portion of the grain in the fall or winter, all the while being barely able to distinguish the difference between a bean and kernel of corn.

After a few years of this, the novelty began to wear off. With farming being at the mercy of such things as Mother Nature and the international grain markets, the uncertainty was never-ending. The bills and property taxes became more of a nuisance and even the money at the end of the season (which varied considerably) lost its luster.

The time had come to sell the home place. To my surprise, this turned out to be a fairly straightforward affair. During my annual visit to Iowa, I sat down with a realtor who explained the process (along with his fees). All I had to do was sign a form giving him permission to list the acreage then, after I’d returned to Bangkok, simply check my email for any offers he’d received.

It took five months to complete the sale, the first three of which were spent swatting away lowball offers designed to find out how desperate I was to sell. It really wasn’t much different than picking up a lady at one of the bars down the street: just be patient and wait for the right one to come along, the only difference being that with the farm I had an attorney to iron out the details.

The closing date for the sale was in February of 2016 at which time the proceeds were deposited into my savings account. While I knew what the amount was going to be, it was still a bit disorienting to see that much money suddenly appear. What in God’s name was I going to do with it? Then it hit me: I would use some it to help a few of my Thai lady friends and maybe also contribute to a worthy cause or two. Try to be a good-hearted (sucker) human being.

To get a sample of what happened, CLICK HERE.

I used to own lots of these. Think they are called corn stalks.