In Remembrance

Dan Specht unnamed

July 8, 2013

Dan Specht, an organic farmer and biologist who farmed the Mississippi River bluffs in northeast Iowa, passed away in July.

He was prolific in his ideas and constant in his support for sustainable farming practices, serving as a board member on the Land Stewardship Project (LSP), Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI), Award Committee for Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education (SARE), and the USDA Task Force on the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone. He testified often in Washington, D.C., providing expertise on conservation, sustainable agricultural practices, and farming issues related to systemic change in policy. His leadership in agricultural issues spanned local, regional, statewide, and national arenas.

Dan was born May 29, 1950 in Monticello, Iowa, the son of Max and Loretta Thalacker Specht. His education began in a one room school, followed by graduation from Monticello High School. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Northern Iowa. Dan lived and farmed near McGregor from 1973 until the time of his death.

Dan was a passionate conservationist who employed farming practices that promoted diverse plant species as well as habitat for song birds and other wildlife. Dan was a naturalist who loved to spend time outdoors. He especially loved walking prairies, fishing, or sitting in a blind or stand, immersing himself in natural communities in study of interactions, including human, on the biomes.

Dan was a leader and visionary who gave voice to a human food production system that would fit into the natural world and would add to the value of what is done in the process. Because Dan gave freely of his experiences and expertise, in lieu of flowers the family requests that memorial funds be sent to Practical Farmers of Iowa, earmarking the beginning farmer grazier program in memory of Dan Specht and his profound knowledge and contribution to sustainable farming and living and, as Dan would say, “how it all fits together.”

Photo by Jean Simmet.

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