Kirschenmann named Distinguished Fellow; DeWitt to become Interim Director of Leopold Center

October 28th, 2005

Fred Kirschenmann, director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, has accepted a new leadership role as a distinguished fellow of the center.

Jerry DeWitt, coordinator of ISU Extension's sustainable agriculture program and its Pest Management and Environment Program, has been named interim director of the Leopold Center, effective Nov. 1.

As a Leopold Center Distinguished Fellow, Kirschenmann will devote his time to national sustainable agriculture priorities affecting broad segments of U.S. agriculture. He will lead Iowa State's participation in a multistate project to address the diminishing number of mid-sized farms, many of which are family farms.

"Dr. Kirschenmann's service to the center has greatly enhanced Iowa State's reputation in sustainable agriculture," said Wendy Wintersteen, interim dean of the College of Agriculture. "His emphasis on marketing and food systems, ecology and policy will continue to guide the center's programs."

"We look forward to his continued leadership on critical national issues," Wintersteen said. "We are committed to continuing the excellence in research and education that the Leopold Center has demonstrated for the past 18 years."

Kirschenmann, who was named center director in 2000, is a longtime leader in national and international sustainable agriculture. He was the second director of the center and the first farmer to hold the position. He is a professor in ISU's Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.

DeWitt, a professor of entomology, has worked for ISU Extension more than 30 years and has been a national leader in sustainable agriculture research and education for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He served on the Leopold Center's advisory board from 1987 to 1997. In November, the Leopold Center will present DeWitt with the 2005 Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture.

The State of Iowa established the Leopold Center at Iowa State University in 1987 through passage of the landmark Iowa Groundwater Protection Act. The center is named for Aldo Leopold, an Iowa-born conservationist, ecologist and educator.

The center's mission, as defined in the Iowa Groundwater Protection Act, is to identify and reduce impacts of agricultural practices, contribute to the development of profitable farming systems that conserve natural resources and cooperate with Iowa State University Extension to inform the public of new findings.


Fred Kirschenmann, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, (515) 294-5588,
Wendy Wintersteen, Agriculture Administration, (515) 294-2518,
Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-5616,