Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Competitive Grants

The Leopold Center supports projects in a variety of areas that enhance sustainability for all Iowa agriculture. Since 1988, the Leopold Center has operated a Competitive Grants Program that has funded more than 500 Iowa-based agricultural and research projects in every county in Iowa.

About the grant process

The Leopold Center’s Competitive Grants Program is open to all Iowa educational and non-profit organizations. Each year, the Center selects new research and demonstration projects to fund. A Request for Pre-proposals (RFP) is issued in June of each year for funding in the next calendar year. See this year's RFP.

More information for grantees   - This page shows where the Leopold Center is in the current RFP process.

Abstracts of completed grants

This publication includes abstracts from more than 300 projects funded by the Leopold Center from 1996 through 2013. Abstracts are listed by topic and year of project completion. Read the publication here.

Research Results

This is a quarterly e-newsletter that is distributed whenever new summaries of project findings are available. Investigators associated with all projects funded in the Leopold Center Competitive Grants Program are required to submit a final report at the conclusion of their work. These reports are summarized and posted on the Leopold Center website in two forms: multi-page summaries and one-page briefs. The Research Results newsletter has links to these summaries.

Sign up to receive the Research Results newsletter here. See the current issue here.

Project Spotlights

Here's a sample of some of the projects we are funding.

Systems model and prototype development to capture and use rain water run-off from a high tunnel

The objective of this project is to design and construct a system that enables growers using high tunnels in their production operation to reduce drainage problems, erosion and crop loss due to excess moisture in and around their high tunnel(s) associated with high volumes of runoff with each rainfall. This project aims to provide multiple water management benefits to fruit and vegetable growers with high tunnels by (1) designing a collection, retention and irrigation system for high tunnels; (2) developing a prototype on an existing high tunnel, and (3) outreach.

Suitability of winter canola (Brassica napus) for enhancing summer annual crop rotations in Iowa
The project continues previous research determining whether winter canola (Brassica napus) is a suitable cover crop for Iowa corn-soybean operations. Winter canola has benefits as a cover crop that maintains soil structure and organic matter on otherwise fallow land, while reducing nutrient loss into waterways. It also has potential as a cash crop for oilseed production.