Today, we share number three in our top five posts countdown, a letter sent to Iowa lawmakers. Last spring, lawmakers proposed a budget bill that would have eliminated the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. In the end, the governor vetoed the provision, allowing for the continued existence of the Leopold Center. The Center for Rural Affairs has worked alongside the Leopold Center on conservation and agriculture, and will continue those efforts.
Thanks to people like you, we were able to make a difference through a massive grassroots effort. Every phone call made, every petition signed and drafted, every story shared, every op-ed submitted, and every testimony presented added up to a political win.
About the Leopold Center: The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture is a nationally-recognized leader on crop system and market research that helps farmers adopt alternative crops while remaining profitable. We hear from our farmer supporters that they would love to grow more oats, small grains, and perennials but need access to improved seed varieties, research on growing techniques, and information about markets. The Leopold Center has long supported that research. At a time when commodity prices are falling and farmers are increasingly concerned by water quality, the work of the Leopold Center is more important than ever.
Dear Iowa lawmakers: Leopold Center deserves recognition and respect
Dear Gov. Bransted, Lt. Gov. Reynolds, and Iowa lawmakers,
We, the undersigned, oppose any proposal to eliminate funding and authority for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. While the work of the Leopold Center is focused in Iowa, it has long been a leader in sustainable agriculture research and serves as an inspiration to sustainable agriculture work nationwide.
For 30 years, the Leopold Center has supported research on water and soil resources through more than 600 projects. The progress made in many other states on water quality, diversified cropping systems, livestock grazing, cover crops, soil health, and local food systems is due in part to initial research that the Leopold Center supported.
In order to continue to address many issues we face in our food and agriculture system - nutrient runoff, soil erosion, manure management, and others - the need for the innovative research that the Leopold Center supports is greater than ever. Eliminating support for the Leopold Center would have dramatic and harmful impacts on future work to improve soil and water health nationwide.
The 30 years of leadership in sustainable agriculture research from the Leopold Center deserves recognition and respect. We strongly urge you to oppose elimination of its funding and authority.
John Fisk, Wallace Center at Winrock International, Arkansas, Virginia, and National Organization
Virginia Clarke, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF), California
Julio Contreras, SOCLA- NAB: Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology - North America at Berkeley, California
Kali Feiereisel, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, California
Eric Holt-Gimenez, Institute for Food and Development Policy, California
Charlie James, Food, Equity, Entrepreneurship, & Development (FEED), California
Ann Thrupp, Berkeley Food Institute, California
Tom Willey, T&D Willey Farms, California
Skye Cornell, Wholesome Wave, Connecticut
Marty Mesh, Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, Florida
Donn Cooper Cooper Agricultural Services, LLC, Georgia
Albie Miles, University of Hawaii - West Oahu, Hawaii
Aaron Lehman, Iowa Farmers Union, Iowa
Sally Worley, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Iowa
Stephanie Enloe, Center for Rural Affairs, Iowa and Nebraska
Mary Fund, Kansas Rural Center, Kansas
Kate Clancy, Maryland
Kourtney Collum, College of the Atlantic, Maine
Dena Leibman, Future Harvest Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, Maryland
Robert Martin, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Maryland
Rebecca Haag, Island Grown Initiative, Massachusetts
Alicia Harvie, Farm Aid, Massachusetts
Rick Foster, WK Kellogg Foundation and Michigan State University, Michigan
Mike Hamm, C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, Michigan
Richard Pirog, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, Michigan
Jan Joannides, Renewing the Countryside, Minnesota
Ben Lilliston, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Minnesota
Helene Murray, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Minnesota
Kathleen Zurcher, Minnesota
Alex Borst, Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network, Mississippi
Melissa Vatterott, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Missouri
David Oien, Timeless Seeds, Inc., Montana
Shelly Connor, Wild Farm Alliance, National Organization
Bridget Holcomb, Women, Food and Agriculture Network, National Organization
Brise Tencer, Organic Farming Research Foundation, National Organization
Duane Hovorka, Nebraska Wildlife Federation, Nebraska
Alice Varon, Certified Naturally Grown, New York and National organization
Roland McReynolds, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, North Carolina and South Carolina
Nancy Creamer, Center for Environmental Farming Systems, North Carolina State University, North Carolina
Nancy Creamer, Inter-Institutional Network for Food, Agriculture, and Sustainability, multi-state network of Universities’ Sustainable Agriculture Programs
Jonathon Moser, Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota
Casey Hoy, Agroecosystems Management Program, Ohio
Amalie Lipstreu, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Ohio
Sam Arnold, The Common Market, Pennsylvania
Eowyn Corral, Dakota Rural Action, South Dakota
Laurie Ristino, Vermont Law School, Vermont
Ricardo Salvador, Food & Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists, Washington, D.C.
Kendra Klein, Friends of the Earth, Washington D.C.
Savanna Lyons, Refresh Appalachia, West Virginia
Michael Bell, Wisconsin
Jill Hapner, GrassWorks, Inc., Wisconsin
John Hendrickson, Stone Circle Farm, Wisconsin
Karen Hendrickson, Small Farm Works, Wisconsin
Jack Kloppenburg, Open Source Seed Initiative, Wisconsin
Lindsey Day Farnsworth, Wisconsin
Kelly Maynard, Wisconsin
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