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.

Development of an online food safety training for employees of university farms and school gardens
Investigators will develop two specialized online food safety educational modules and two user manuals to lower the risk of foodborne outbreaks at school gardens and university farms. They will conduct a mini-pilot project to evaluate the impact of the materials developed.
Biochar and managed perennial ecosystems: Testing for synergy in ecosystem function and biodiversity

Biochar is a major by-product of low-temperature pyrolosis from the thermal decomposition of wood or grasses to produce heat, electricity or biofuels. The goal is to investigate the ecological impacts of biochar on the interactions among native prairie plants, soil organisms and their soil environments. Information will stem from field-based initiatives to determine the effects of these soil amendments prior to widespread application.