What's New At The Leopold Center At Iowa State University?

What's New At The Leopold Center At Iowa State University?

A new project looks at the mystery of why a winter rye cover crop sometimes affects corn yields, and sometimes it doesn't.

It's always exciting to see Iowa farmers try something new, especially if the new practice promises to improve water quality. In the July issue of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture Newsletter, you'll meet Seth Watkins, who just finished planting 50 acres of prairie conservation strips on his Taylor County farm in southern Iowa.

AN EXCITING DAY! On June 27, a farmer in Taylor County in southern Iowa, Seth Watkins, seeded prairie on his farmland, becoming one of Iowa's first farmers to adopt a new conservation practice pioneered by the ISU STRIPS team. Read about it in the Summer 2013 issue of The Leopold Letter. Also in the newsletter, the mystery of winter rye as a cover crop, why the Leopold Center wants to avoid exaggeration, and the dilemma that haunted Aldo Leopold 80 years ago.

The newsletter also tells about the huge improvements in soil quality from organic practices used on long-term experimental plots at the Neely-Kinyon Research Farm in Adair County. And Leopold Center director Mark Rasmussen explores the consequences of exaggeration, while the Center's Distinguished Fellow Fred Kirschenmann discusses the dilemma that haunted Aldo Leopold 80 years ago and is still with us today. Read more at the Leopold Center website.

* RESEARCH RESULTS: Find summaries of these projects at the website. Des Moines farm to school pilot project -- local sourcing for special events and summer feeding; Drainage water quality impacts of current and future agricultural management practices; Exploring the role of multifunctional agriculture on the future of agriculture and rural development; Getting the most from Iowa's forests -- linking forest understory composition to stream water quality; Greenhorn Grazing -- a modular pasture and animal management curriculum for graziers; Impacts to the land-water-human system of rural Iowa from high intensity continuous maize production

* MANAGING NUTRIENTS: Since 1988, the Leopold Center has invested in more than 60 research projects directly related to nutrient management, building the backbone for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Details are available here

* WORK GROUPS GATHER: The Food Access & Health Work Group will meet July 12 to learn about the growing problem of food waste. The Regional Food Systems Working Group will meet August 7 to discuss impacts of local food. Details on the Web calendar at the Leopold Center website.

* LOCAL MEAT PROCESSING: A new report from the USDA's Economic Research Service has ISU and Leopold Center ties. Arion Thiboumery is an author of "Local Meat and Poultry Processing: The Importance of Business Commitments for Long-Term Viability". He led the Small Meat Processors Working Group for the Leopold Center's Value Chain Partnerships project and went on to coordinate a national Extension program, the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network. Visit the Oregon State University Extension website.

* MORE THAN JUST TREES: The Mid-American Agroforestry Working Group (MAAWG), coordinated by the Leopold Center, has a new website and is hosting a training academy in August at the University of Missouri. Learn more at the website.

* NEW REPS AT UNI: The University of Northern Iowa has two new representatives on the Leopold Center Advisory Board: Kamyar Enshayan and Dennis Dahms. Both will serve four-year terms. Here's a recent Q&A with them.

* NATIONAL APPOINTMENT: ISU agronomy professor Matt Liebman has been appointed to the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council's Committee on a Framework for Assessing Health, Environmental and Social Effects of the Food System.  The ad hoc expert committee will develop a systematic approach to determine the positive and negative effects associated with the ways in which food is grown, processed, distributed and marketed in the United States.

* ON-FARM RESEARCH: Practical Farmers of Iowa has announced 44 new on-farm projects taking place this year on 66 farms. The work is supported by a three-year $150,000 competitive grant from the Leopold Center. Details are at the Leopold Center website.

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