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

May 13, 2019

June 8 is the deadline to register for the 2019 Iowa Farm to School Conference, organized by the Farm, Food and Enterprise Development in Pella on June 21 and 22. Those interested in learning more about how farm to school works, or ready to take your farm to school activities to the next level are invited to attend. 


April 29, 2019

For the past 18 years, the Leopold Center has been pleased to work with the Spencer family to present this award to deserving Iowans in agriculture. The winners have shared a desire to improve Iowa’s landscape, albeit in very different ways. 

Nominations for 2019 Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture are due June 30.


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