Leopold Visioning Task Force

September 8, 2017

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture LogoA listening session to gather input on the future of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture will be held on October 18, 2017 at Iowa State University.

The session is open to the public and will begin at 3:10 pm in the Ensminger Room at 1204 Kildee Hall. In attendance will be students from the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture, as part of their weekly Colloquium. The GPSA is the first program in the US to offer MS and PhD degrees in sustainable agriculture, with many of the current students and alumni supported by the Leopold Center. This is one of several listening sessions being held around the state, led by a task force that is gathering input from the public. Public comments also can be submitted online at the following website, https://www.leopold.iastate.edu/leopold-center-listening-sessions-feedback

This spring, the Iowa Legislature passed legislation to defund and close the 30-year-old center at Iowa State University. Then-Governor Terry Branstad used a line-item veto to remove language that would have closed the center, but signed the bill that removed approximately $1.7 million of state funding. As of July 1, the center’s only revenues come from earnings from endowments established by private giving. Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Mark Rasmussen, director of the Leopold Center, named a visioning task force to hold the listening sessions. The 11-member task force is co-chaired by Rasmussen and Doug Gronau, who has chaired the center’s advisory board. The task force is hosting the listening sessions to hear from attendees on how the center may move forward.

Other task force members are: John Gilbert, a farmer from Hardin County; Gail Hickenbottom of the Practical Farmers of Iowa; Patti Naylor, farmer from Greene County; Bob Riley of the Riley Resource Group, Pleasant Hill; Ann Robinson of the Iowa Environmental Council; Ron Rosmann, farmer from Shelby County; Lisa Schulte-Moore, professor of natural resource ecology and management at Iowa State; Suzanne Shirbroun, farmer from Clayton County; and Cody Smith, Vice President of Iowa State University Student Government.