Iowans Encouraged to Help Develop Vision for The Leopold Center

posted on Thursday, August 3, 2017

LCIowans interested in the future of sustainable agriculture research and education in Iowa are encouraged to participate in listening sessions to inform the future mission and goals of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. A Visioning Task Force that will include Iowa Environmental Council Agriculture Policy Director Ann Y. Robinson will help oversee the listening sessions to gather public input and then develop related recommendations.

The second Leopold listening session for SW Iowa has been scheduled for Wednesday, August 16 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the Wallace Foundation/ISU/Armstrong Research Farm, 53020 Hitchcock Avenue,  Lewis, IA 51544.

The Visioning Task Force members are:

Mark Rasmussen: Leopold Center, Co-Chair
Doug Gronau: Leopold Center Board, Co-Chair
Bob Riley: Riley Resource Group
Ron Rosmann: Farmer, Shelby County
Suzanne Shirbroun: Farmer, Clayton County
Gail Hickenbottom: Practical Farmers of Iowa
Cody Smith:  V.P. ISU student body
Patti Naylor: Farmer, Greene County
Lisa Schulte-Moore: ISU faculty
John Gilbert: Farmer, Hardin County
Ann Robinson: Iowa Environmental Council

According to Leopold Center Director Mark Rasmussen, who will co-chair the Visioning Task Force, guiding questions for the first visioning input session will be:

  • Going forward, how should the Leopold Center approach agricultural issues and challenges?
  • What should be priorities for the Leopold Center?
  • What new partnerships and funding opportunities should the Leopold Center pursue?

Earlier this year, Iowa legislators voted to repeal and de-fund the Leopold Center. At that time, hundreds of rural and urban citizens from across the state, including many Council members, voiced strong bipartisan support for the Center’s important work in letters, phone calls and testimony at a legislative hearing. Their support helped gain a line-item veto from Governor Terry Branstad that prevented elimination of the Center, even though the Center lost most of its funding. 

“The Iowa Environmental Council looks forward to working with ISU and Lt. Governor Reynolds to make sure the Center can continue its unique and valued independent work,” said IEC’s Robinson. “We are honored to serve on the Leopold Center Visioning Task Force and hope this will be a constructive process that will usher in the Center’s next 30 years. Its research and leadership are needed more than ever to support farmers looking for solutions to agriculture’s environmental and economic challenges.”

Learn more information about the Leopold Center and its status