AMES, Iowa -- The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture is looking for innovative ideas for research and projects as part of its long-running competitive grants program. Of particular interest this year is work that focuses on soil health, identifying and managing vulnerabilities to agriculture, and food hubs.
Specifics are outlined in the Leopold Center’s Summer 2013 Request for Pre-proposals (RFP). The deadline for submitting ideas, in the form of a 2-3 page concept paper, is July 19, 2013.
Leopold Center Director Mark Rasmussen said the RFP process has been modified to encourage participation and better address current issues in agriculture.
“Soil health becomes even more important when you face drought, flooding or other weather extremes,” he said. “Besides soil health, we also want to fund work in other areas where farmers may be vulnerable including those related to economics, energy and the structure of agriculture. Our third area, food hubs, would include efforts that smooth the connection between producers and retailers with regard to food products.”
Rasmussen said the Leopold Center prefers research and projects that demonstrate a systems approach to an identified problem or situation, rather than single-tactic solutions. In addition to the focus areas, innovative research and project ideas will be accepted in any of the 10 subjects defined in the RFP: Soil, Water, Landscape, Cropping Systems, Energy, Climate, Livestock Systems, Policy, Social, and Marketing and Food Systems.
The Center will accept pre-proposals from investigators representing any Iowa nonprofit organization/agency and/or educational institution, including soil and water conservation districts, schools and colleges, and regional development groups. Farmers, landowners and farm-based businesses are invited to participate in the pre-proposal process but they must be associated with a nonprofit organization.
The RFP can be downloaded from the Center’s website at: http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/grants/rfp. Hard copies can be obtained from the Center office by calling (515) 294-3711 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.