The Johnson Center for Land Stewardship Policy is a new organization that furthers the work of the late farmer and conservationist Paul W. Johnson.

The Center seeks applications for awards to support emerging leaders considering careers related to the furthering of a private land ethic, or landowner-government partnerships to conserve private lands. We welcome proposals that address private land conservation policy and advocacy; academic research and teaching; agricultural innovation on private land (including advances related to climate change); the arts; journalism and communications. Funding is available beginning June 1, 2022. Awardees are expected to build on Paul’s writing and experiences as an Iowa state legislator, Chief of the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and writer and activist advancing a private land ethic.


We will provide honoraria or paid internships for up to one year to enable successful recipients to devote themselves to a supervised project or activity related to Paul W. Johnson’s work.  A maximum of three awards are available for 2022. We seek creative thinking in the proposals.


Our center seeks to support mentors – faculty and nonprofit organization leaders – in identifying, sponsoring, and supervising emerging leaders.


All applications must include: 1) a 2–5-page proposal; 2) a CV limited to two pages; and 3) a support letter from the student’s supervising professor or NGO advisor. Support is limited to $3,500 per award

Those receiving awards will be required to provide a report on the results and lessons learned from their work, and to participate in a fall forum sponsored by the Fund. We don’t expect the presentation to the forum will be a final report, but it should describe the work and any initial findings.


In developing projects, applicants are urged to read a collection of Paul Johnson essays and reflect on his views on the need for a “private land ethic.”  See: “The Paul Booklet” under Section About Paul

The scope of work must show how the sponsored project fits into the applicant’s career goals.

Multiple formats for application are possible, but 2-5 pages should be sufficient to describe the proposed work.  Because the center aims to spur innovative thinking, it will be very flexible in terms of projects it supports. However, the work must be tied to advancing and building upon Paul Johnson’s work and thinking.  

Due date for applications – June 1, 2022.

Address for submission David Osterberg 318 2nd Avenue NW Mount Vernon, IA 52314


If you are unsure if a proposal will meet our intentions, please discuss your proposal with one of us:

David Osterberg 319-210-0570

Ralph Rosenberg 515-509-5057

Dennis Keeney 515-450-9003

Charlie Bruner 515-988-4457