ISU’s Leopold Center Stays "Alive For Another Day"
A leading research center focused on local farmers and environmental conservation is hanging on by a thread, even as the movement to diversify agriculture, which it helped launch, continues to thrive.
The Iowa Legislature created the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in 1987.
When he was working with Congress in the late 1980s to draft the bill that created the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s sustainable agriculture program, Hoefner says the Leopold Center served as a model.
Research from the Leopold Center has identified successful conservation practices, which can also be used in other states, that can keep nutrients on fields, prevent soil erosion, and help clean up water.
"That’s a subject where Leopold did some of the early work that has now led to what’s essentially an entire movement across the country towards trying to diversify agriculture and take advantage of the great consumer interest in local and regional food," Hoefner says.
Hart says to the contrary, everyone involved with agriculture seems to agree on several ongoing, vexing problems.
Well that hasn’t ever worked," Keeney says.
"And Leopold says that."
The funding that once fueled broad, diverse research at the Leopold Center will now flow to the Iowa Nutrient Research Center.
Ferd Hoefner of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, however, says the movement the Leopold Center helped inspired will continue its work.