Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Current Grants

The Leopold Center supports projects in a variety of areas that enhance sustainability for all Iowa agriculture as part of its long-running Competitive Grants Program. These grants fund research, education and demonstration projects across four initiatives: Ecology, Marketing and Food Systems, Policy and Cross-Cutting (involving all three areas).

Projects are listed below by initiative area. Click on the title for a detailed description of the project, who is doing the work, and where it is taking place.

Here's a list of all competitive grants awarded this year [PDF]

Project Title Project ID
Blurring the lines between working and conservation lands: Enhancing bird and pollinator habitat using prairie strips E2015-10
Crop diversity effects on soil organic matter and nitrate retention in surface and subsoils E2015-17
Impacts of landscape and on-farm diversity on the abundance and health of bee pollinators E2015-06
Improving soil health and water quality through better soil phosphorus assessment and management practices E2015-13
Prairie contour strips: Demonstrating the importance of custom seed mix for biological integrity E2015-16
Determining threshold responses of plant-soil feedbacks to nitrogen deposition E2014-01
Management and performance of Iowa cover crops E2014-02
Soil health and productivity in riparian grass buffers: A re-evaluation after 13 years E2014-07
Quantifying the effects of alternative surface inlet protection strategies on water quality E2014-08
A smartphone-based device for measuring soil organic matter E2014-11
Quantifying nitrogen credits and impacts of cover crops on soil biology and health in vegetable cropping systems in Iowa E2014-16
Economic impacts of soil erosion in Iowa E2014-17
Understanding microbial contributions to soil aggregation and organic matter accumulation E2014-19
Covering the ground: A transformative approach to scientific learning for greater cover crop adoption in Iowa E2014-20
Integrating project knowledge and models: The next step in developing a Payment for Ecosystem Services scheme for the Big Creek watershed E2013-08
Suitability of winter canola (Brassica napus) for enhancing summer annual crop rotations in Iowa E2013-16
Predicting long term cover crop impacts on soil quality using a cropping systems model E2013-19
The complex role of tall fescue in grassland ecology E2012-01
Winter rye cover crop effect on corn seedling pathogens E2012-03
Investigation of bacteria transport and resistance mechanisms and implications for water quality from confinement swine and beef grazing production systems in Iowa E2012-05
Use of grazing management to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions while increasing soil organic matter and water-holding capacity of cool season pastures in southern Iowa E2012-08
Implementing an ISU Extension Master Grazier Certification course E2012-16
Biochar and managed perennial ecosystems: Testing for synergy in ecosystem function and biodiversity E2011-03
Enhancing botanical composition, wildlife habitat and carbon sequestration of pastures in south central Iowa through soil disturbance by mob grazing of beef cattle E2011-06
Agricultural soil erosion and carbon cycle observations in Iowa: Gaps threaten climate mitigating policies ESP2010-TP*
Evaluating canola (Brassica napus) as an alternative oilseed crop and enhancing winter cover in Iowa E2009-21
Performance of cropping systems designed to reduce nitrate leaching into shallow municipal well aquifers E2009-22
Quantifying the effect of perennial vegetation on soil and water quality E2009-16*
Grazing prairie: Improving species diversity while maintaining cattle and goat productivity and resting home pastures E2008-05*
Providing shaded pasture with perennial biomass energy plantings E2008-01*
Grazing compatibility in and for future years E2006-01*
Project Title Project ID
Building producer capacity for institutional food distribution M2015-09
Increasing local food consumption in rural communities by partnering with non-traditional food retailers M2015-06
Small-farm business development incubators for refugee farmers M2015-13
Supply chain management for Iowa regional food systems M2015-11
Small-farm business development incubator for refugee farmers M2014-02
Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit M2014-03
Using spatially explicit supply/demand and local participants’ perspectives to integrate urban agriculture with community planning M2014-05
Market development and logistics for local food distribution in the Cedar Valley M2014-06
Increasing the capacity of a local food hub to service the public school market M2014-09
Planning grant for the establishment of a food enterprise center M2014-10
Insurance benchmarking for Iowa fruit and vegetable producers, Year 2 M2014-11
Implementing a seasonal cycle menu for public schools featuring Iowa-grown and processed foods M2013-09
Establishing shared-use processing facilities at three possible locations in central and south central Iowa M2012-06
Developing and implementing a strategic plan for farm-to-school programs in northeast Iowa M2009-04
New Champions Expanded Scope: Developing an action plan for building an expanded regional food economy in Black Hawk and surrounding counties M2007-07*
Project Title Project ID
Protecting Iowa’s land legacy: Soil and water conservation policy – past, present and future P2015-01
Reducing local regulatory barriers to local foods Phase 2: Local foods and county zoning project P2015-05
Reducing local regulatory barriers to local foods: Municipal Zoning for Local Foods in Iowa Guidebook P2014-01
Sustainable Agricultural Land Tenure: The legal rights and duties of entity ownership of Iowa farm land and the next generation of landowners P2014-03
Sustainable Agricultural Land Tenure and risk management for extreme climatic events P2013-05
Project Title Project ID
Budgeting for organic dairying XP2015-05
Impacts of contrasting rotation systems and weed management regimes on weed dynamics and agroecosystem health XP2015-02
Linking soil and water quality with crop performance across a continuum of tillage and management strategies, Years 2 and 3 XP2015-03
Long-term assessment of miscanthus productivity and sustainability (LAMPS) XP2015-12
Sustainably growing Iowa’s beef herds: Evaluating systems that provide economic opportunities while protecting soil and water resources XP2015-15
Impacts of conventional and diversified rotation systems on crop yields, soil functions and environmental quality: Stage II/Year 2 XP2014-01
Suitability of winter canola (Brassica napus) for enhancing summer annual crop rotations in Iowa XP2014-02
Linking soil and water quality with crop performance across a continuum of tillage and management strategies: Enhancing sustainability through soil-health-promoting practices XP2014-04
The University of Iowa Biomass Energy Sustainability Index: A decision-making tool for the University of Iowa Biomass Partnership Project XP2014-05
Food safety, economics and environmental impacts of aquaponics in Iowa XP2014-06
Capturing indigenous knowledge of small grain production XP2014-08
The prospects and challenges of organic dairy farming in Iowa: A case study XPSP2014-02
Horticulture/Agriculture Education Studies 465 Fruit and Vegetable Marketing Website XPSP2014-04
Use of adaptive grazing management to provide multiple ecological services while increasing profitability of beef cow-calf production in Iowa XPSP2014-01
Impacts of conventional and diversified rotation systems on crop yields, profitability, soil functions and environmental quality: Stage II XP2013-01
Cultivating conservation: Bringing ecology, economics and ethics together XP2013-10
Demonstrating farrowing alternatives for small farms: Insulated tents for sows and pigs XP2012-04
Attracting pollinators and natural enemies to add value to Iowa agriculture XP2012-07
Grass-Based Livestock Working Group G2008-01*

Special Projects

This work is supported by the Leopold Center with external or discretionary funds outside of the competitive grant funding cycle. Projects also may be shown with each initiative above.