Polk County, Iowa
In 1869, the family of Johannes and Catherina Leemann of Bern, Switzerland came to northern Polk County just outside Alleman, IA and then purchased farmland in Lincoln Township at the price of $5/acre. The Lehman’s have farmed on the same property for over 150 years.
The farm has had many blessings and challenges over the decades. In the early 1900s the farm was home to Lincoln Center Dairy and delivered milk and cheese to customers in Des Moines. At one point the farm boasted of the highest producing herd of Brown Swiss dairy cattle in the state of Iowa. Like many others, the farm was in deep financial danger during the 1980’s farm crisis but creatively survived. The farm has hosted numerous leading policy makers over the years, including First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Senator Tom Harkin, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack along with the Secretary of Agriculture of Cuba on the first cabinet level visit to the United States in over 50 years.
Aaron Lehman is now the fifth generation of his family that farms the same ground. He and his family (wife Nicole, daughter Jordan, and son Benjamin) live in the 100-year old farm house that his grandfather built upon his return from World War I. The farm currently grows corn, soybeans, oats, hay, and field peas in both organic and conventional rotations. The farm has received recognition for implementing various conservation practices and the farm uses electricity from its on-farm solar collection unit. The Lehman’s are proud members of the community and have served in numerous farm, school, church and civic organizations. They believe in creating a more just, equitable, and regenerative food system.
In 2019, Lehman’s from around the world returned to the farm to celebrate the 150th anniversary of coming to America and farming in central Iowa.