Letter: Support the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture is a sound investment for all Iowans, which has so many questioning why it is on the chopping block.

Over the last 30 years, the Leopold Center has been a leader in agricultural systems research. As a transparent granting agency, it serves all Iowans. It funds and promotes studies on row crop and animal agricultural, water quality and local food distribution, access and marketing, among others. The Center’s broad support and appeal have inspired farmers, communities, students and researchers alike to generate sustainable solutions for a stronger and healthier Iowa.

Now more than ever we need cooperation among diverse stakeholders around complex issues. The Leopold Center’s research and programming contributes to the betterment of all Iowans, regardless of political persuasion or geographic location. Its pioneering work on soil erosion and water quality keeps soil and nutrients where they need to be, and water clean — goals essential to all Iowans. We should be celebrating and continuing our support of the Leopold Center, not abandoning our statewide commitment to it. 

Let us all remember Leopold, the center’s namesake and Iowa’s native son. Leopold described Iowa not as a food factory but as a living, working landscape in which farmers and citizens share in the abundance of its natural richness.

The gift of fertile soils and fresh water can continue to shape the prosperity of the state. Yet seemingly overnight, a small group of politicians decided on the fate of a state-cherished, nationally recognized research institution without consulting the farmers, communities, students and researchers who rely upon the Center as a key partner. This partisan politicking denigrates the spirit of Leopold himself and makes the shared goal of safeguarding our landscape for this and future generations less possible by the day.

We encourage you to stand up for the Leopold Center’s future. Call your local legislator today. For more information about the center and lending your support, visit Iowa Sustainable Agriculture’s website.