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"Dealing with a tight budget, the Republican-controlled state Senate voted to close the 30-year-old Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and shift $1.5 million previously earmarked for it to a nutrient research center, also at Iowa State University, said the Des Moines Register. The center is named for Iowa native Aldo Leopold, a pioneer in ecology who is perhaps best known for his book A Sand County Almanac. Republican Sen. Jack Shipley said the nutrient research work at ISU would replace much of the work done by the Leopold Center. Democrat Herman Quirmbach said the Leopold Center’s work on efficient and environmentally responsible farming was much broader than nutrient research. Independent David Johnson said that Senate Republicans were longtime foes of the Leopold Center, adding that agriculture was not just “4,000- or 6,000-acre farmers in this state,” said the Register. The appropriations bill for state agriculture and natural resources agencies “specifically orders the elimination of the Leopold Center and it calls on ISU’s College of Agriculture to oversee the process of winding down the center’s affairs,” said the Des Moines newspaper...In 1987, the legislature created the Leopold Center, which has received funding from annual appropriations and fees on nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides. The center says its mission is “to identify and develop new ways to farm profitably while conserving natural resources as well as reducing negative environmental and social impacts.” Early this week, the chairman of the Iowa House Appropriations Committee, Pat Grassley, suggested the Leopold Center was created with the idea that private industry would take over funding of the center, reported the Register. Not so, said three former lawmakers who coauthored the 1987 bill."

Posted April 19th, 2017