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Reader Supports Funding Leopold Center

May 18, 2017
Emmetsburg News

Letter to the Editor:

I am not now nor have I ever been an admirer of Terry Branstad, but he has my approval for his veto of a measure that would have ended the Leopold Center at Iowa State University.

Thie Leopold Center definitely deserves adequate funding. We consistently seem to fall into the trap of killing projects with potential long term benefit in favor of achieving short term budget concerns, or providing tax benefits to those with the most grease. The Leopold Center has the potential to develop concepts and information that might be of critical importance to the future of our state.

I think Iowa needs another George Washington Carver. In the post Civil War South, Carver encouraged alternatives to cotton. Perhaps we need someone with similar vision to develop alternatives to our two crop corn-soybean economy. Iowa State University should be researching alternative higher margin, and perhaps more labor intensive, crops that will better preserve our soil and water resources and meet the needs of an expanding world population. The financing for these projects should be budgeted by the legislature, and not by the pursuit of corporate grants. We need to take control of research and invest more in projects with potential of meeting future challenges.

In some respects, agriculture in Iowa resembles the pre-Civil War South. Rather than slaves, much capital is invested in machinery and techology that reduces the human element. Ever rising overhead and land use costs force a continuing drive to expand. Most of the financial gain from increased productivity does not remain in the community, but goes to the chemical and machinery companies and absentee landowners.

There will be no easy answers, but I believe we cannot assume that our present use of our land and water resources is the end of the rainbow.

(signed) Alan Oppedal

Ruthven, IA



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