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

June 6, 2018

The meeting with begin at 9 a.m. at the Horticulture Research Station, 55519 170th St. near Ames. The agenda includes a discussion of the center's future plans.


June 5, 2018

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture Sustainable Agriculture funded the publication of Drake University's How to Improve Water Quality on Iowa Farms. It is designed to help farmers and landowners use public programs to improve water quality and promote soil health on their farmland. Link to report


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, 2018, edition of the Rock Island Dispatch-Argus. Read more

Deadline June 16 for Spencer Nominations: Deadline for nominations for the 2018 Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture is June 16, 2018. Nomination form