The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture is pleased to announce a request for nominations for the 2022 the Spencer Award, which honors deserving Iowans working for a more environmentally sound agriculture.

The purpose of the Spencer Award is to recognize significant contributions to the advancement of ecological and economic practices that will make agriculture more sustainable and the family farm secure for the future. The award serves as a lasting memorial to Norman and Margaretha Spencer, who believed it is the obligation of each generation to leave the world a better and healthier place for the next generation.

The Spencer family established the award in 2001 through an endowment, which will provide $2,000 in cash prize funding in 2022.

Past recipients have made significant contributions to improving Iowa’s landscape, albeit in very different ways. Many have been farmers and landowners who were wonderful examples of how to use conservation practices to make their land and operations more sustainable to pass on to future generations. Other Spencer Award winners included ISU professors, extension educators, farm managers and USDA scientists who have been pioneers in sustainable research and promotion.

In consultation with the Spencer Family, eligibility for the award is now open to graduate students at Iowa State University or from any Iowa educational institution who have demonstrated commitment to furthering sustainable, agroecologically sound agricultural practices, above and beyond routine studies.

If you know someone who fits into any of these categories (or if you are such a person), please consider submitting a nomination for the 2022 Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture. Nominations for are due by June 10.

Review the Award Nomination Form for additional details.

The Spencer Award honors Norman and Margaretha Spencer, who farmed in Woodbury County for 40 years. Graduates of Iowa State, the Spencer’s maintained an active relationship with the university and several professors who encouraged them to conduct research on sustainable practices and family farming. Learn more about the Spencer family and past award-winners at