Sometimes you need to go back to your roots, and the new annual report (released at the end of 2013) for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture is sprinkled with thoughts from the many writings of famed naturalist Aldo Leopold. The Leopold Center is located on the campus of Iowa State University.
Leopold (1887-1948) is the conservationist, ecologist and educator for whom the Center was named. A native of Burlington, Iowa, Leopold was best-known for his book of essays, A Sand County Almanac, where he outlined basic ideas about conservation and sustainability still being used today.
The Leopold Center's FY2013 annual report describes research, outreach and education activities that were sponsored by the Center from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. Aldo Leopold's commentary is paired with news of the Center's efforts in ecology, agriculture, conservation and local food systems and his concern for the health of the land still rings true.
A significant highlight of the report is a summary of the evaluation of six long-term Center projects that yielded some fascinating statistics about the outcomes, impacts and leveraging achieved. Data from the evaluation effort is featured in the annual report and in six impact statements that were created for each project.
The Center's Fiscal Year 2013 annual report also covers these accomplishments for the year just finished:
Research conducted (and ongoing) for each of the four research initiatives and the competitive grants program;
Events held all over Iowa that were sponsored by the Competitive Educational Support Program;
Achievements of two young horticulture professionals supported by Center funds;
Iowa Learning Farms uses Leopold funds for their youth-oriented "Water Rocks!" education program;
ISU's Sustainable Agriculture Program celebrates 10 years with Leopold Center backing;
Fred Kirschenmann gives 24 keynote speeches on sustainable agriculture topics, and
Shivvers Award lecturer (and World Food Prize laureate) speaks on global ag challenges.
To get a copy of the 36-page, full-color publication, call the Leopold Center at (515) 294-3711. Or you can view the report on the Leopold Center website. In other Leopold Center news, following is the December issue of the Center's monthly newsletter:
WORKING WITH FARMERS: Working with farmers is a researcher's inspiration, according to 2013 Spencer Award winner Matt Liebman. The Iowa State University agronomy professor received the award during the Leopold Center Advisory Board's December 5 meeting. He received accolades from his peers as well as donor Elaine Spencer, who presented the award. Details here.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
CALLING ALL VETERANS: Iowa veterans who want to trade the battlefield for a farm field can participate in one-day workshops designed to help make their dreams become reality. The newly formed Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa is hosting workshops February 20 in Ottumwa, February 22 in Waterloo, March 13 in Red Oak and March 15 in Storm Lake. The workshops will provide vets interested in Iowa agriculture with networking opportunities and education, and are supported by the Leopold Center's Policy Initiative. More information is available here.
NOTES FROM THE FIELD: The newest photo gallery on the Leopold Center website is from a tour of the rolling hills in northeast Iowa, possibly a good location for implementation of prairie conservation strips. The STRIPS research team hopes to set up demonstrations of this new practice on farms throughout the state.
FREDUCATION: A group of Ames High School students were so enthralled by their visit last summer with Leopold Center Distinguished Fellow Fred Kirschenmann that they created a new word describing their experience. See a collage of what they learned, and how these students are taking their message about sustainable agriculture to new audiences.
FRED AND WENDELL: In addition to his work at the Leopold Center, Fred Kirschenmann is president of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in New York. In December, the Stone Barns Center hosted beloved poet, writer and farmer Wendell Berry during the National Young Farmers Conference. Read Wisdom 101, the Stone Barns account of this visit and what was shared by these two visionaries.
COVER CROPS CALCULATOR: The Iowa Learning Farms has a new tool to help farmers calculate and compare the costs of using cover crops, including seed, application and chemical termination. The calculator can be used for a single cover crop species or up to six species in a mixture. It is available as an Excel file.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has declared 2014 to be the International Year of Family Farming. The goal is to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by small family farmers and their significant role to increase food security and nutrition while protecting the environment.
If you're looking for food-related resolutions, check out these suggestions from the Food Tank.