Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University was created in 1987 as part of the Iowa Groundwater Protection Act. The goals of the Center have been to identify and develop new ways to farm profitably while conserving natural resources as well as reducing negative environmental and social impacts. 

The Center is named for Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), a native of Burlington, Iowa, known internationally as a conservationist, ecologist, and educator. He saw the need for development of a land ethic, outlined in his 1949 book of essays, A Sand County Almanac.

Mark Rasmussen is the Leopold Center director.  A 17-member Advisory Board advises the director on policies, budget and program review.

 Completed Grants

Leopold Center News

October 8, 2018

Paul Johnson, who wrote Iowa’s landmark Groundwater Protection Act as a state legislator, and Seth Watkins, who farms sustainably near Clarinda will be presented the award at the 2019 Iowa Water Conference, which is scheduled for March 12-13, in Ames. Read more


September 26, 2018

Matching funds provided in part by the Leopold Center made possible horticulture Professor Kathleen Delate’s participation in a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service soil health grant announced recently. The multistate grant, led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will assess current technologies that could be used in no-till organic systems and determine which practices will help farmers protect soil health in their fields.


Of Interest

Cover crops and manure. An article in the May 2018 newsletter of the Allamakee County Soil and Water Conservation District highlights a soil health project supported by the Leopold Center. Read more

'Leopold Center Still Working for Iowa Farmers': An op-ed written by Daniel E. Lee, the Marian Taft Cannon Professor in the Humanities and director of the Augustana Center for the Study of Ethics, Augustana College, appeared in the May 3 edition of the Rock Island Dispatch-Argus. Read more