Veto preserves Leopold Center, but without funding

May 12, 2017 –

Governor Terry Branstad issued a veto message today for SF 510, the agriculture & natural resources budget bill approved by the legislature in April.

The Governor exercised his line item veto to strike language in SF 510 that would have eliminated the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.

The veto preserves language in the Iowa Code that authorizes the Leopold Center and its research mission (Iowa Code Sec. 266.39 and 266.39B)

The veto does not restore state funding for the Leopold Center that was eliminated by the legislature in two separate budget bills:

  • The education budget (HF 642) eliminated a $400k general fund appropriation for the Leopold Center and a $1.32 million general fund appropriation for the Iowa Nutrient Research Center, both housed at Iowa State University.
  • The agriculture & natural resources budget (SF 510) then reassigned approximately $1.5 million in annual sales tax revenue to the Nutrient Research Center; that revenue – a portion of the agriculture management account in the groundwater protection fund generated by a tax on sales of nitrogen fertilizer – had been designated for the operations of the Leopold Center since passage of the Ground Water Protection Act in 1987.

Preserving the Leopold Center will allow ISU to retain over $1 million in an endowment  funded by gifts and bequests specifically for the support of the Leopold Center; the endowment is administered by the ISU Foundation and generates revenue for the Leopold Center programs each year. The Governor had expressed his concern that closing the Leopold Center would require ISU to return endowment funds to donors.

We will keep you updated as more details become available regarding the status of Leopold Center operations and programming going forward.

Iowa Farmers Union
PO Box 1883 Ames, IA 50010-1883
[email protected]