The Shivvers Memorial Lecture Series

The Shivvers Memorial Lecture Series

Since 1969, the Shivvers Memorial Lecture Series has brought distinguished speakers to Iowa State University to speak about the ways agriculture can sustain rather than destroy natural resources, its responsibility to both the land and the farmer, and its interdependence in the web of life. The annual lecture series is sponsored by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the ISU Chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta Honorary Society for Agriculture, and the ISU Committee on Lectures (funded by Student Government).

The Shivvers Family

L.C. (John) Shivvers was born in 1894 on Fair Acres Farm near Knoxville, Iowa, and became a pioneer of sustainable agriculture. Although he never attended ISU or even graduated from grade school, he became a leader and a role model in his community for his innovative farming practices. His experience in the Dust Bowl in the 1930s made him committed to soil conservation.

In 1924 John married Vera Hollowell, who joined him at the Shivvers family farm. They had three daughters, whose names now are Marietta Shivvers Carr, Martha Shivvers Skillman and Charlotte Shivvers. John Shivvers was elected to the Iowa Senate in 1962, but he passed away that December, before he could take office. In a special election Vera took his place for the next two years, becoming the third woman to serve in the Iowa Senate. In 1969 she coordinated with ISU to establish the Shivvers Lecture Series as a lasting memorial to her husband. The Shivvers family continues to farm in Iowa and oversee the lecture series today.


Series Speakers

Smiling woman with dark hair wearing dark blouseApril 6, 2023

Mini-Forest Revolution: Using the Miyawaki Method to Rapidly Rewild the World 
Hannah Lewis, author, environmental advocate, ISU alum 



Smiling man in dark suit jacket and tie  April 4, 2022

"Eating Tomorrow: Climate Change and the Battle for the Future of Food"
Timothy Wise, author and agriculture policy researcher


March 25, 2019

"Setting the Table: Systems, Sustainability and Policy"
Angie Tagtow, Akta Strategies, LLC



Steve JonesMarch 26, 2018

"White Bread, Wheat Breeding and the Beauty of Place"
 Steve Jones, professor and director, of the Bread Lab at Washington State University



2017 Shivvers Lecture panelMarch 28, 2017

"The Leopold Center at 30 and Beyond"
Paul Johnson, David Osterberg, Ralph Rosenberg

Listen to the podcast of this event
Details about the panel



April 5, 2016

"How Can We Farm for the Long-Term?"
Iowa Farmer Panel: Nathan Anderson, Laura Krouse, Mike DeCook

Download a video of this event [MP4 file]
Details about the panel



April 8, 2015
"The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food"
Dan Barber, Chef and Author

Download a video of this event [MP4 file]
Article: Chef presents his vision of the future of food


Ray Archuleta

April 1, 2014
"Soil Health and Sustainability"
Ray Archuleta, Conservation Agronomist
USDA National Resources Conservation Service

Listen to podcast 
NOTE: The first part of the presentation is audio-only while the speaker conducts three experiments. Skip to 25:57 to see powerpoint presentation.


April 7, 2013
"Changing Course in Global Agriculture"
Hans Herren, World Food Prize laureate
President, Millennium Institute, Washington, D.C.

Listen to podcast [MP3]



March 4, 2012

"Environmental Pollution, Climate Change and Our Health"
Sandra Steingraber, Author and scholar-in-residence
Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Ithaca College

Listen to podcast [MP3]



February 6, 2011
"Will Climate Change Impact the Sustainability of Iowa's Farms?"
Gene Takle, Director of ISU's Climate Science Initiative

Listen to podcast [MP3]



February 28, 2010
"Wisdom of the Last Farmer, Why Memory Matters: Transformative Farming and Flavors"
David Mas Masumoto, farmer and author

Listen to podcast [MP3, 59 min]



March 1, 2009
"Why Don't We Have Sustainable Agriculture Now?"
Richard Levins, Professor Emeritus
University of Minnesota

Listen to podcast [MP3 file, 57 min]



February 24, 2008
"Family Farms in an Era of Global Uncertainty"
John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus
University of Missouri-Columbia

Listen to podcast [MP3]



April 15, 2007
"A Conversation with Wendell Berry"
Wendell Berry, farmer, writer, philospher and conservationist



October 19, 2005
"The Farm as Natural Habitat"
Laura Jackson, professor in the Department of Biology
University of Northern Iowa