A listening session to gather input on the future of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture will be held Wednesday, Aug. 16, from 5-7 p.m. at the Armstrong Research Farm near Lewis, Iowa. The listening session is free and open to the public.
Several listening sessions will be held around the state; dates and locations for other listening sessions will be announced later. Comments also can be submitted online at the following website: https://www.leopold.iastate.edu/leopold-center-listening-sessions-feedback
Wendy Wintersteen, endowed dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Mark Rassmussen, director of the Leopold Center, named a visioning task force to hold the upcoming listening sessions. The 11-member task force is co-chaired by Rasmussen and Doug Gronau, who chairs the center’s advisory board. The task force is hosting the listening sessions to hear from attendees on how the center may move forward.
Other task force members are: John Gilbert, a farmer from Hardin County; Gail Hickenbottom of Practical Farmers of Iowa; Patti Naylor, a farmer from Greene County; Bob Riley of the Riley Resource Group, Pleasant Hill; Ann Robinson of the Iowa Environmental Council; Ron Rosmann, a farmer from Shelby County; Lisa Schulte-Moore, professor of natural resource ecology and management at Iowa State; Suzanne Shirbroun, a farmer from Clayton County; and Cody Smith, vice president of Iowa State University Student Government.
This spring, the Iowa Legislature voted to defund and close the 30-year-old center at Iowa State University. Then-Governor Terry Branstad used a line-item veto to remove language that would have closed the center, but signed the bill that removed its state funding, approximately $1.7 million. As of July 1, the center’s only new revenues come from earnings from an endowment established by private giving.