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

April 2, 2019

A recording and transcript of the March 25 Shivvers Memorial Lecture by Angie Tagtow, a registered and licensed dietitian with more than 25 years of experience in public health and food policy, is available on the Lectures web site.


March 26, 2019

Paul Johnson and Seth Watkins, winners of the 2018 Spencer Awards, accepted their plaques March 13 at the Iowa Water Conference.

Johnson, who co-wrote Iowa’s landmark Groundwater Protection Act as a state legislator, and Watkins, who farms sustainably near Clarinda were presented the awards by Elaine Spencer, a member of the family that funded the award, and Mark Rasmussen, director of the Leopold Center.


Of Interest

Farm, Food and Enterprise Development is the new name for extension's former Local Foods and Value Added Agriculture programs. Local Foods arose out of a Leopold Center program. Program manager Craig Chase and staff are housed at the ISU Research Park.

Are Cattle Really Wrecking the Planet?
Mark Rasmussen, director of the Leopold Center, gives his opinion in an Iowa Learning Farms webinar. View the webinar