Has the Iowa Legislature lost its mind? Has it forgone all reason and logic in the final weeks of its session? We ask these questions because it is purely idiotic to think that cutting funding from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture here at Iowa State University is in any way, shape or form a good idea.

House and Senate Republicans proposed the budget that guts funding from the Leopold Center last week. Furthermore, the language in the bill directs the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to begin shutting down the Leopold Center permanently.

The Leopold Center is a nationally recognized leader in sustainable agriculture that funds research and outreach projects around the state. Information gathered and disseminated from the Leopold Center has helped Iowa farmers and land owners improve the way they operate and manage our local natural resources. However, according to legislatures in the House and Senate, the state of Iowa is doing just fine with its management of our soil and water quality. Apparently, we don’t have environmental quality issues and our farmers and land owners know everything they need to.

It is beyond foolish to think that shutting down a decades-old research center that contributes to the progress of Iowa’s backbone of industry is a good idea. This outrageous proposal by Iowa Republicans directly contradicts Iowa’s core values of community and education by eliminating much-needed research that improves the quality of life of all Iowans. With this budget cut, lawmakers are saying that farmers don’t deserve the latest information and technology that is needed for them to produce a sustainable harvest.

Here is an alternative to the senators and representatives in Des Moines this week. Instead of cutting funding for much-needed research institutes, we provide them with the tools they need so that they may continue improving Iowa’s great landscape. If you need help finding some extra money in the budget, we suggest scrapping the unnecessary voter ID bill that will cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The people of Iowa deserve better. Our farmers, researchers and students deserve highly regarded institutions that are on the cutting edge of new technology and information that will benefit our state and nation. Contact your local representatives today and let them know that you will not stand to see the Leopold Center go. Tell them you will not support such an egregious act against our environment and farmers. 

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