Iowa Biomass Initiative Receives Environmental Excellence Award

Iowa Biomass Initiative Receives Environmental Excellence Award

Congratulations to University of Iowa Biomass project for developing a use for miscanthus, a grass energy crop.

The University of Iowa Biomass Initiative received the Governor's Iowa Environmental Excellence Award on August 4 in Des Moines. The initiative uses biomass produced by miscanthus, a type of fast-growing grass, to reduce the university's carbon footprint.

Two grants from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture were used to set up a network of growers to grow this biomass crop and to help determine a measure of sustainability. The crop is being grown to supply electricity, steam and chilled water to the main campus and is part of a mix of fuels being developed to reduce the university's use of fossil fuels. For more information, visit

GLORY TO GRASS: The University of Iowa was honored this week with an environmental award. The UI project uses a locally-available grass to reduce the university's carbon footprint. The crop reduces the use of fossil fuels as it is burned to supply electricity, steam, etc.

Following are more interesting articles from the August 2015 e-newsletter published by the Leopold Center.

THIS FARM GROWS FARMERS: Also on August 4 a tour was conducted of Global Greens Farm, an incubator farm in West Des Moines where recent immigrants from various countries can follow their dream of starting a farm business. Read how the Leopold Center helped this project.

SUPPORT A FARMER – GO TO THE MARKET: The Leopold Center tips its hat to all the Iowa producers who sell at more than 200 farmers markets in the state. Help celebrate National Farmers Market Week by supporting your local market (this month has some of the biggest selections). Check this page for links to free apps that will help you find your market.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT: Leopold Center Director Mark Rasmussen explores this idea as it relates to livestock feed in his latest column, "Greening up what we eat." You'll find much more in our summer issue of the Leopold Letter, including a look at a certified grazing program, efforts to get local pork on school menus and other news.

ANTICIPATING THE FUTURE: "Our best bet for achieving sustainability probably is rooted in our efforts to anticipate changes and prepare for them in advance." That's the advice from Leopold Center Distinguished Fellow Fred Kirschenmann in an essay, reprinted by In These Times' Rural America project. Read his other columns on the Leopold Center website at and


PRAIRIE ON FARMS: "If you're interested in planting prairie, you'll want to look into two free workshops offered by the Iowa Tallgrass Prairie Center as part of a Leopold Center grant project. They will be September 15 at the Luze Farm near Dysart and September 17 at the ISU Northeast Research Farm near Nashua. For more information visit

NEW FOOD HUB PUB:  A new publication describes how emerging food hubs can grow successfully under money constraints if cash flow is managed strategically. "Managing Cash Flow for a Low-Capital Food Hub Start-up" draws on the real-world experiences of the Iowa Food Hub. This was a collaboration between the Leopold Center and ISU Extension 

WHAT WOULD ALDO SAY?: In honor of the International Year of Soils, we asked former Leopold Center Director Dennis Keeney to research the writings of Aldo Leopold for clues about what Leopold would tell us today about soil. Keeney's essay in our summer Leopold Letter, "Leopold speaks on soil," also has been published by the Aldo Leopold Foundation, which has devoted its entire issue of Outlook magazine to soil. Read more at

SOIL QUALITY: Results from a 2010 research project conducted by ISU entomologist Aaron Gassmann have been published in the PLOS ONE research journal. Gassmann was studying soil health and how naturally-occurring insect pathogens are affected by various fertilizers. Read about this at

You can download a printable copy of the August Leopold Center newsletter.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.