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]

Ecology
Project Title Project ID
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
Comparison of Biofuel Systems (COBS) Project: Biomass energy conversion and energy return on investment analyses for 2012 growing season E2013-04
Evaluating perennial crop options for inclusion in agroforestry systems E2013-18
Reconnecting riparian buffers with tile drainage: An emerging technology to reduce nitrate loss from croplands E2013-13
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
Understanding soil organic matter change: Modeling root and soil interactions across agricultural landscapes E2012-11
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
What drives corn yield stability in the context of climate variability? E2011-07
Farmer perspectives on ecosystem service management, land-use targeting and the future of Corn Belt agriculture E2011-15
Reconnecting Iowa riparian buffers with tile drainage E2010-01*
Transitioning to ecologically functional production systems E2010-10*
Crop availability of phosphorus in beef manure E2010-12
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*
Marketing
Project Title Project ID
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
Innovative equipment solutions to reduce costs and improve productivity for small-scale fruit and vegetable growers M2013-07
Implementing a seasonal cycle menu for public schools featuring Iowa-grown and processed foods M2013-09
Development of an online food safety training for employees of university farms and school gardens M2013-12
Procurement tools to develop sustainable local food purchasing models for farm to school chapters M2012-07
Convening the Regional Food Systems Working Group (RFSWG) M2012-08
Machinery management for small- and medium-sized horticultural farms M2012-11
Transitioning farmers to produce for wholesale markets M2012-12
Improving profitability for small and very small meat processors in Iowa M2012-16
Field evaluation and system improvement of a semi-automated mechanical intra-row weeder for vegetable crops M2012-24*
Establishing shared-use processing facilities at three possible locations in central and south central Iowa M2012-06
Developing permaculture techniques for increased production and profit in sustainable year-round agriculture for beginning farmers and ranchers in southwest Iowa M2011-05*
An automated mechanical intra-row weed removal system for vegetable crops M2009-23*
Cultivating the agrarian dream: Aspiring agri-entrepreneurs helping one another choose their path M2009-24*
Developing and implementing a strategic plan for farm-to-school programs in northeast Iowa M2009-04
Growing up local: A value chain analysis of local produce in Iowa M2009-11*
New Champions Expanded Scope: Developing an action plan for building an expanded regional food economy in Black Hawk and surrounding counties M2007-07*
Policy
Project Title Project ID
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
The extent and impact of trust ownership on the sustainability and resiliency of Iowa’s agricultural landscape P2012-01
Cross-Cutting
Project Title Project ID
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
Greenhouse production of high-value crops in an aquaponic system XPSP2013-01
Impacts of conventional and diversified rotation systems on crop yields, profitability, soil functions and environmental quality: Stage II XP2013-01
Increasing visibility of energy conservation and renewable energy on Iowa's small to mid-sized farms XP2013-03
Cultivating conservation: Bringing ecology, economics and ethics together XP2013-10
Demonstrating farrowing alternatives for small farms: Insulated tents for sows and pigs XP2012-04
Farm metered energy analyses: Getting baseline data, ground-truthing changes XP2012-06
Attracting pollinators and natural enemies to add value to Iowa agriculture XP2012-07
Building social networks to capture synergies in wood-based energy production and invasive pest mitigation XP2011-07*
Increasing Iowa farmers' resiliency through the Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) cooperators' program XP2011-01
The Long-Term Agro-ecological Research (LTAR) Experiment: Ecological benefits of organic crop rotations in terms of crop yields, soil quality, economic performance and potential global climate change mitigation XP2011-02
Sustainable production of bioenergy from agricultural and food waste XPSP2011-SJ
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.