GENEVA – Aldermen acting as the Committee of the Whole unanimously approved a two-year lease agreement with a Maple Park farmer for 286.4 acres at Prairie Green Preserve.
Under state law, the city can enter into two-year leases. Steve Pitstick Farms of Maple Park just completed a two-year lease agreement for the 2012 and 2013 crop seasons.
Officials said Geneva accepted two sealed bids to lease the farmland and at $375 a acre, Pitstick’s was the best, cost-wise, for a total cash rent of $107,400.
The other bid from C and C Farms was for $236.33 and $239.33 per acre for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, respectively, officials said.
Third Ward Alderman Dean Kilburg said with commodities projected to be weaker in 2014 and 2015, “this is a good lease for the city and one that I will support.”
The City Council will take final action on the lease agreement.
City staff also noted that Pitstick “has used environmentally sound farming methods” at the Prairie Green Preserve.
“Over the years, Mr. Pitstick has developed a unique knowledge of the … site and maintains a compatible use relationship between the prairie/wetland areas of the site and farmed areas,” according to a staff memo.
Pitstick said he has been farming that acreage for 10 years and is careful not to use chemicals near the sensitive wetland areas.
“We use all the approved chemicals that are available – but only as needed – and we limit the amount that we use,” Pitstick said. “They’ve brought in some species of plants in the wetland, and they’re sensitive to anything. We’re very respectful of that. We watch the applications. Everything we do everywhere is very respectful, but moreso there.”
Pitstick said he typically grows crops that are half corn and soybeans, though last year because of market conditions with regard to ethanol, he grew corn only.