Jerry DeWitt: “Surely there is both room and a need for a balanced agriculture in Iowa? “

Governor Branstad:

I write to you to urge a line-item veto of legislation slated to eliminate The Leopold. Center for Sustainable Agriculture. I have had a long 38-year history of serving Iowans in many aspects of agriculture while employed at ISU, and as Director of The Leopold Center from 2005-2010.

My wife, Kathy Beery,¬†worked very closely with you while leading Rural Economic Development at IDED to better serve struggling small communities and rural Iowa. The Center’s long 30-year history of success and balance of opportunities to all Iowans parallels the success in rural Iowa under your early leadership of IDED. You did not forget “small” then. Let’s now not go in a different direction and serve only one narrow segment of rural Iowa and agriculture.

Let’s continue to support cattle grazing rolling pastures, local food systems, new conservation lines on the land, expanded horticultural opportunities, innovative pork production systems for farmers, new beginning farmers, creative nitrogen management systems, local entrepreneurs, regional infrastructure, filter strips, the growing wine industry, farmers markets, and strengthening local economies and more.

Surely there is both room and a need for a balanced agriculture in Iowa? Without the Leopold Center such a balance among communities, neighbors and struggling voices will be eliminated.  Our children will have but one narrow choice for agriculture when they return to the farm.

Those of us who have walked our family farms and know down deep the value of local economies, neighbors, and new opportunities for our children readily appreciate the value of rural balance and the Leopold Center. Please continue this legacy for all Iowans and save the Leopold Center today which you were bold enough to support 30 years ago.

Jerry DeWitt
Former Director Leopold Center 2004-2010