Jaradat presents his vision for Leopold Center

Dr. Abdullah Jaradat stressed the importance of understanding current environmental issues and the actions that need to take place in order to create a sustainable agricultural system.

Amber Hovey

Abdullah A. Jaradat spoke in an open forum Monday in hopes of receiving the position of director of Iowa State’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

Jaradat is an agronomist and administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s North Central Soil Conservation Lab located in Morris, Minn. Jaradat is an adjunct professor of agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Minnesota and an adjunct professor of science at Southwest Minnesota State University.

Jaradat’s presentation centered on the ideas of “diversity” and a “resilient agroecosystems.”

He repeatedly brought up the importance reducing what he called the “ecological foot-size” and linking environmental issues with agricultural issues.

Jaradat spoke of the need of a “culture of sustainability” and the “opportunities and moral obligations” the Leopold Center has to help contribute to that development of a sustainable culture.

Those opportunities and moral obligations included the slowing or stopping of agricultural expansion into natural and unmanaged habitats, closing the yield-gap of crops and cropping systems as a land-saving measure and promoting a biological and ecological-social approach to help close the diet-gap.

All of which would help to “bridge the gap between ecosystem ecology and industrial agriculture,” Jaradat said.

By bridging this gap, he said, “We can help the developing world help themselves.”

Jaradat is one of three candidates being interviewed for the position of director of the center.

Jaradat conducts and manages research on conventional and organic production agriculture, with an emphasis on modeling yield variation of crops under various management practices.

Before his job in Morris, Minn., Jaradat led the plant genetics program at the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture in the United Arab Emirates and has held several research and teaching positions throughout Jordan.