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From the Ames Tribune we get Director’s removal shocks board members.

Several advisory board members to the Leopold Center at Iowa State University said they were shocked to hear of the removal of the center’s director, noting they were not aware of any problems with his leadership.

“As far as I could tell, everything seemed to be pretty even-keeled,” said Kelly Donham, a farmer and representative on the board of the University of Iowa. “I didn’t have any inkling or suggestions there were some concerns or problems at that time.”

Marvin Shirley, the former chair of the advisory board, said he believed Kirschenmann was doing a good job carrying out the center’s mission.

“A lot of the problems and solutions to agriculture are beyond Iowa’s borders,” said Shirley, who represents the Iowa Farmers Union on the advisory board. “You can’t lose focus of Iowa, but to solve those problems, you have to be involved in a larger area than just Iowa.”

From the Des Moines Register we get ISU ag director: I was forced to resign.

Fred Kirschenmann said he was forced to resign as director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture because of differences over how much the Iowa State University center should focus on Iowa. […]

Advocates of sustainable agriculture are protesting Wintersteen’s decision and have started a letter-writing campaign.

Weisenbach said sustainable agricultural advocates like and respect DeWitt and the work he has done, but she said there are a lot of questions about why Kirschenmann was removed as director.

“There is a lot of shock and concern, a lot of mystery and suspicions about why Fred was replaced,” she said.

And this interesting comment from Board Member Neil Hamilton

Neil Hamilton, director of Drake University’s Agricultural Law Center, has been on the Leopold Center’s advisory board since it began in 1987. If some farm groups pressured Wintersteen to remove Kirschenmann, Hamilton said, he wasn’t aware of it.

“This is not a question of big agribusiness trying to undo what the center was trying to do,” Hamilton said. “The center needs to focus on Iowa farming and sustainable agriculture and this is a positive development for Fred, sustainable agriculture and the state of Iowa.”

Hamilton said the center needs to do more on environmental issues, both for smaller and larger farmers. DeWitt, he said, will have a positive impact there.

More commentary later.

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