When Tom and Leslyn Jacobs first got married, buying land was simply a dream.

Indeed, they were both young foresters saddled with college loans and old vehicles.

However, in 1984, their dream became a reality when they received a $40,000 loan to buy 80 acres of land. Since this first purchase, they have lived frugally, invested smartly, and expanded dramatically. Today, the Jacobs serve as a dependable source of wood for the state’s timber and paper industries and as a supplier of clean water, wildlife habitat, and hunting grounds. Specifically, their land includes stands of cedars, hardwoods, and white pines, as well as a spring, creek, and six-acre bluestem prairie.

But with increases in land values since its initial purchase, the more than 800 acres of forestland owned by the Jacobs is now worth millions of dollars. This worries the Jacobs; although they are frugal—even choosing to continue driving a 17-year-old pick-up truck—their investments will be at risk if the tax exemption is reduced. In effect, their children will be faced with a crippling bill, meaning they will need to sell some of their property to pay it off. This will depreciate all the good work they have done building trails and access roads, planting trees, and cutting timber to improve the health and diversity of forests across the state.

Tom and Leslyn Jacobs
Tree Farmers