News & Notes

Pre-proposals selected

The Leopold Center's 2012 Request for Pre-proposals resulted in 54 submissions in August. After review by staff and advisory board, 16 pre-proposals have been selected for development as one-year proposals. Full proposals are evaluated by staff, outside reviewers and members of the Leopold Center Advisory Board, with final funding decisions announced in late January 2013. The adjustment to one-year proposals will help the Leopold Center maintain a viable balance between new grants and multiple-year projects.

A fond farewell

In August, the Leopold Center said good-bye to Karen Jacobson, the Center’s administrative specialist for the past seven years. Jacobson was honored at a retirement reception at the ISU Memorial Union in Ames. Michele Rogers, accountant for the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is providing interim accounting support for the Leopold Center.

Blue Ribbon Award

A publication about what was learned from a Leopold Center-supported research project recently received a Blue Ribbon Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Laura Christianson and Matt Helmers were recognized for a four-page publication, Woodchip Bioreactors for Nitrate in Agricultural Drainage. Typically, only the best projects are nominated and about one nominee in five receives the Blue Ribbon designation. Helmers is a professor in ISU Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering; Christianson was a graduate student who evaluated pilot and field-scale bioreactors.

One Stop Shop

The Iowa Farm Energy Working Group has set up an online resource page called “One Stop Shop to Reduce Farm Energy Use.” The web page includes links to resources developed by the working group since it began as part of a Leopold Center competitive grant from the Cross-Cutting Initiative. The resources include farm case studies, reports of energy demonstration grants and online videos. Other pages have information about grants and loans available from various state and federal programs; service providers of farm energy audits; utility rebate programs for items such as farm lighting, heating/cooling and energy efficient equipment; and state and federal tax incentives and tax credits. Information about the group and a link to the One Stop Shop appear on the Leopold Center website on the Farm Energy Working Group page.

New publications

Drake University’s Agricultural Law Center has developed two new publications as part of its Sustainable Agricultural Land Tenure (SALT) project supported by the Leopold Center Policy Initiative. Landowners Helping New Farmers provides an overview of state programs designed to help landowners who want to rent to a beginning farmer, and considerations that landowners might want to include in those leases. A second publication, Rotational Grazing on Leased Land, discusses what factors should be considered when setting up a lease for land that will be rotationally grazed. Both publications are on the Leopold Center’s Pubs & Papers page and at

Advisory board changes

The Leopold Center Advisory Board elected new officers during their September meeting. Bill Ehm, who directs environmental services at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, will be chair. Keith Summerville, an associate dean at Drake University, represents the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities on the board and will be vice-chair. Member-at-large will be Aaron Heley Lehman, a farmer near Polk City and board representative for the Iowa Farmers Union.

Water quality practices

A new Leopold Center fact sheet, Practices to Improve Water Quality, provides a snapshot of 11 conservation practices that landowners can adopt to protect and improve Iowa’s water quality. All conservation practices in the fact sheet have been the focus of recent Leopold Center research grants. Find the new resource by title on the Leopold Center’s Pubs & Papers webpage.