WEST BRANCH, Iowa — Iowa’s only land trust dedicated to preserving land to grow table food announced today its transition from founder to first professional executive director, a complicated but promising transition for a young nonprofit.
The Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) has hired Breanna Horsey of Storm Lake as its next leader upon the announcement of Executive Director Suzan Erem’s retirement after nearly a decade launching the statewide organization.
A native of Angleton, Texas, Horsey previously served as the executive director of Storm Lake United, where she successfully promoted business, tourism and economic development in the Northwest Iowa town. Horsey’s experience also includes serving as an urban conservationist and founding a nonprofit organization to get girls outdoors.
“Breanna brings to SILT proven leadership and organizational development skills, combined with a dedication to environmental stewardship,” said Les Beck, SILT President, who led the national search. “My greatest delight is the excitement that Breanna has for SILT and its future. She is truly excited about the organization, its mission, and its potential.”
“With the help of so many people, we were able to grow SILT from a good idea to a $5.4 million organization in just 8 years,” said Erem upon the announcement. “It’s time now for the next generation to take us to the next level. I’m very pleased with the process our board went through to find and hire Breanna. I think she’s going to do great things here.”
Horsey has experience in fundraising, board service and leadership and staff development. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership. Founded in 2015, by two dozen leaders in agriculture, development and planning, SILT’s mission is to preserve Iowa farmland for sustainable table food farming, ensuring that future generations of Iowans can access affordable farmland and the food it can grow.
SILT has already preserved 1,200 acres on 16 farms. In 2021, it launched a statewide, Circle Our Cities campaign to circle 10 Iowa cities with 10 permanent food farms in 10 years, and to date has begun that work in Des Moines, Dubuque and Fairfield.
–Sustainable Iowa Land Trust