Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Leopold Notes May 2011

Notes from the Leopold Center Archive

The Leopold Center is looking for Iowans who have a long-standing commitment and passion for the preservation of Iowa’s family farms to consider for the 2011 Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture. The Center has honored nine distinguished Iowa farm families and educators since the Spencer family established the prize and $1,000 cash award in 2001. For details and a nomination form

When Leopold Center Distinguished Fellow Fred Kirschenmann meets the Prince of Wales this week, they’ll be discussing agriculture, not royal weddings. The May 4 meeting in Washington, D.C. is part of a Future of Food conference at Georgetown University hosted by the Washington Post. Prince Charles, an organic farmer and strong supporter of sustainable agriculture, will present the keynote speech. The event will bring together food company executives, chefs, authors, academia and nonprofit leaders to discuss the growing consumer demand for healthy, natural food. Kirschenmann is participating in a panel discussion at the conference; the private meeting with the Prince of Wales involves sustainable ag leaders also attending the event. Conference presentations can be viewed live at: http://washingtonpostlive.com/conferences/food

At a recent meeting of the Iowa Land Tenure Working Group, Iowa State sociologist J. Arbuckle presented current research about non-operator landowners. The new group is convened by Drake University’s Agricultural Law Center and supported by the Leopold Center’s Policy Initiative. View Arbuckle’s research results

Farmers with small to mid-sized operations may apply for demonstration grants using energy efficiency/conservation and renewable energy resources from the farm to meet their energy needs. The opportunity is through the Farm Energy Working Group of the Leopold Center and led by the UNI Center for Energy and Environmental Education and the National Center for Appropriate Technology. Grant proposals for up to $2,000 will be considered to pay for the farmer's time for installation, administration, report writing, and some materials (but no equipment). Proposal deadline is June 15. Find the application on the working group website at: http://www.ceee.uni.edu/farmenergy.aspx

Veterans who want a career in agriculture are invited to apply for an educational two-day retreat scheduled July 14-16 in Iowa. The retreat includes farm tours of sustainable grain, vegetable and livestock operations, as well as presentations on organic certification, production techniques and marketing. It is hosted by the Farmer Veteran Coalition based in Davis, California and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) in Des Moines. Funding is from the USDA Risk Management Agency and the leading producer of organic field seed, Blue River Hybrids of Kelley, Iowa. For details about the “Coming Home to Farm” retreat and how to apply, contact Hannah Lewis, hannahl@ncat.org, (515) 288-0460.

The Women, Food and Agriculture Network is sponsoring a May 12 meeting in Cherokee and a May 18 meeting in Jefferson for women farmland owners to provide them with information about conservation and land leases. For details, contact Lynn Heuss, lheuss@gmail.com, (515) 201-9405.

The Environmental Working Group released a new report in April showing that Iowa farms are losing topsoil at higher rates than previously estimated. The Washington, D.C.-based group offers a number of policy recommendations, video and aerial views on the report website at: http://www.ewg.org/losingground/

Iowa State University’s Corn and Soybean Initiative has developed a new resource designed to help growers more easily track and manage crop pests. The North Central ipmPIPE website is an interactive collection of maps showing data on pest counts, sightings and locations gathered by a cooperative network of growers and crop professionals across Iowa. Access the site at: http://www.ncipmpipe.org

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