The Land Institute
2440 East Water Well Road
Salina KS 67401-9051
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (785) 823-5376
Mission Statement

When people, land, and community are as one, all three members prosper; when they relate not as members but as competing interests, all three are exploited. By consulting nature as the source and measure of that membership, The Land Institute seeks to develop an agriculture that will save soil from being lost or poisoned, while promoting a community life at once prosperous and enduring.

Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Dr. Wes Jackson
Board Chair Angus Wright
Board Chair Company Affiliation Professor Emeritus - California State Univ. Sacramento
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1976
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

 Breakdown
Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Statements
Mission Statement

When people, land, and community are as one, all three members prosper; when they relate not as members but as competing interests, all three are exploited. By consulting nature as the source and measure of that membership, The Land Institute seeks to develop an agriculture that will save soil from being lost or poisoned, while promoting a community life at once prosperous and enduring.

Background Statement

The Land Institute’s core activity is a research program to create a “natural systems agriculture” that mimics the processes and structure of natural ecosystems. The Institute has played a leading international role in defining, explaining, and pursuing the natural systems agriculture concept and in giving it a public voice. The Institute collaborates with universities, governments, and research and advocacy organizations on six continents. Its own ambitious research focuses on the idea that for the prairies of the North American continent, natural systems agriculture means creating an ensemble of perennial high-seed-yielding grain, legume, and oil-seed plants that can be grown in various combination, that is, an agriculture of perennial polycultures that can meet human needs into the future. The Land Institute is dedicated to the idea that perennial polyculture agriculture can significantly reduce or reverse soil erosion, use water more efficiently, improve soil quality, greatly reduce reliance on harmful fertilizers and pesticides, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through increased carbon sequestration in soils. Such an agriculture would be based on “the marriage of ecology and agriculture,” utilizing our most advanced knowledge of ecology, genetics, and agronomy to make conservation the consequence of agricultural production. While the scientific work of the Institute focuses on the North American prairie, we work with others who are applying the natural systems agriculture concept to other native ecosystems.

The scientific research program of the Institute is supported by a variety of research and educational activities carried out in cooperation with other research centers, universities, and individuals. The Institute works under the assumption that its scientific research program in the long run will require social, cultural, and political changes consistent with and in support of a flourishing natural systems agriculture. Therefore, it seeks to nurture creative thought, writing, and teaching that explore the need for and the nature of such changes.
Impact Statement

Accomplishments FY15:

 

  • We acquired 70 acres adjacent to a 72-acre tract at Ohio and Water Well Rd.; the new property provides additional nursery and test plot space.
  • In the spring of 2015 we hosted a conference on ecospheric studies that was attended by more than three dozen people, most of them academics, from all over the United States.
  • In January, 2015, The Land Institute entered into an agreement with the Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation that established the Perennial Agriculture Project (PAP). The PAP, a 15+ year project, is devoted to the expansion of perennial agriculture research.

 

Goals FY16:
 

  1. Continue development of perennial grains and legumes, via two approaches: crossing annuals (such as wheat, sorghum, and sunflowers) with perennial relatives, such as intermediate wheatgrass (Kernza) and wild sorghum and sunflower varieties; and domestication through selective breeding of existing wild perennials, to achieve improved yield, seed size, shatter resistance, ease of threshing and other useful agronomic traits.
  2. Create natural crop ecosystems that accomplish many tasks farmers have historically provided through labor and purchased fertilizers and pesticides.
  3. Scale up operations at all Land Institute sites to provide stable base of support for robust global partnerships and multiple location breeding and ecological research initiatives.
  4. Plans are being drawn up for a second greenhouse, and construction on a 5,000 square foot threshing facility is to begin in November 2015.
  5. Find a new president to succeed Wes Jackson, who after nearly 40 years plans to step down from that position in June 2016. 

Needs Statement
  • Renewable general support for The Land Institute (any amount), or support for its specific programs
  • Equipment for use at new Lawrence property: $250,000
  • Underwrite a Prairie Festival speaker's lodging or transportation costs: $750.
Service Categories
Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis
Land Resources Conservation
Physical & Earth Sciences
Areas of Service
National
International
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement

In the near term, the key challenge facing The Land Institute is to summon and organize the human and material resources now needed to exploit a breakthrough scientific development: perennial plants that will rival the productivity of annual grains. It may sound like hyperbole, but there are few tasks anywhere more pressing than to hasten the advent of an agriculture that feeds humans as it saves soil and minimizes costly inputs. And now at last we have some prototypes of high promise.
 
Our first job, therefore, is to help the science staff of The Land increase their numbers and enhance and streamline their work. We need a bigger scientist payroll, a new lab facility, new equipment, and a lean management team to make sure that the work proceeds swiftly and efficiently. We press ahead on all these fronts.
 
On a slightly longer scale, the board also must work with staff to develop the business and educational capacities needed to get the new plants—and the scientific methodology that made them possible—into research laboratories and mass production.
 
Addressing both these near and middle-near challenges will cost money. Successful fundraising by both board and staff is critical. The board has already begun to muster more financial support and to set in motion a search for new significant donors who could join us on our board.
 
In the long term, the board must look to leadership succession. I’m pleased that we have already approved a written policy by which to select a new president and attract new young professionals to our ranks. After taking a deep breath or two, the next step will be to build an endowment.

Programs
Description
 

Our goal is a new agriculture that halts the relentless degradation and erosion of soil, decreases farners' on fossil energy and chemicals, shrinks the carbon footprint of farming, and restores the health of landscapes.

We intend to offer farmers perennial crops to be grown in ecologically resilient mixtures that produce abundant food harvests. We draw on knowledge and techniques developed by plant breeders and other scientists over the past century, and by non-professionals for millennia, including the early peoples who first gave us agriculture.

As we learn more about the relationship between conventional agriculture and climate, the imperative for a fundamental change in practices becomes clearer and more urgent. 

Program Budget $989,209.00
Category Environment, General/Other Land Conservation
Population Served General/Unspecified, ,
Short-Term Success We are perennializing wheat, sorghum, rice, sunflowers and domesticating three wild perennials. With more investment, additional annuals will be perennialized and wild species relatives domesticated. In most cases, we expect these perennials will grow in species mixtures and therefore closely mimic grassland ecosystems. The processes typical of grasslands are the basis of NSA, since grasses provide the grains that provide 70 percent of human calories worldwide. With natural ecological functions returned to the farm, serious problems associated with annual monocultures will decline.
Long-Term Success

An abundant food supply that is sustainable and resilient is possible when perennial mixtures re-inhabit the landscape.

With perennial mixtures on an agricultural field, we take advantage of roots year-around, massive and deep, the natural managers of water and nutrients and sponsors of a longer growing season that captures more sunlight. With species mixtures that are natural to perennials, resistance to pests and diseases is inherent. Without perennials, soil will continue to erode and agricultural chemicals will continue to affect air, water and life.
 
Program Success Monitored By
Mileposts—On the way to mixed perennial grains in farmers’ fields, we gauge our success by comparing our achievements to the mileposts set in our long-term plan. Our 30-year research agenda and our annual work plans assemble the annually explicit goals, tasks and criteria for success set by each scientist for each experiment. With agricultural research, success is of a see-saw nature, most often the consequence of the vagaries due to climate, seldom due to failures of instrumentation or technique, never due to experimental design.

The agenda and annual plan are available upon request. An example of success is that thousands of developing perennial hybrids are living in our research plots year-round. Their progress toward desirable breeding populations is measured each year, and was particularly significant in the growing season last harvested.
Examples of Program Success The objective of the wheat program is to develop a new perennial crop that produces crops of grain similar to annual wheat and adequate baking quality for raised bread. To do that, we are bringing together the genes of bread wheat with those of perennial grasses. We have obtained thousands of hybrids between annual wheat and perennials over the past few years. By pollinating the full spectrum of such plants once again with improved perennial grasses like our Kernza™, it was our hope to increase the odds of finding strongly perennial plants. That we did, but the resulting plants were mostly male-sterile, unable to produce pollen; therefore, we crossed them with the few fertile plants. We were pleased to discover that most of the offspring in the greenhouse this year—approximately 1,100 plants—produced pollen and set seed without our help. Many of the plants appear to have seed similar in size to that of annual wheat while retaining a strong potential to re-grow after producing seed. This is promising for the next test—in the field.
Description

 

We continue to be a voice for fundamental change in agriculture. Our organizational leadership and science staff make presentations across the nation and around the world exploring and advocating the environmental, economic, and social justice benefits of perennial natural crop ecosystems, for farmers, and for the earth and all its creatures. Recently three of our researchers were invited to help organize and participate in a UN Food and Agriculture Organization symposium held in Rome on the role of perennial grains in providing food security. 

We continue to build relationships with public-sector collaborators. Collaborations with researchers are ongoing in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Georgia, Manitoba, Mali, Uganda, and China A coalition has been formed with scholars and researchers from KU, KSU, and the Konza Prairie Biological Station, for the purpose of guiding and coordinating efforts to scale-up plant breeding and ecological research for ultimate global implementation.

We host individuals and groups for tours of our Salina headquarters year round, with our scientists or plant breeders conducting or participating in many of these visits. Groups have included a contingent from the World Bank, and representatives of major foundations supporting work in sustainable agriculture.

Program Budget $328,352.00
Category Environment, General/Other Land Conservation
Population Served Adults, ,
Short-Term Success Cards and emails following our presentations describe deeper understanding, not only of the issues of sustainability, but of their causes, the urgency for action, and some solutions on which to act. Prairie Festival visitors talk about the presentations and discussions among other attendees as their “recharge” for the year. Our publications engage readers, including scientists, with new ideas. Generally, many scientists who may have been skeptical to some degree 10 years ago have moved to a respectful attitude about our science and proposed solutions—as early questions have been answered satisfactorily and successful hybrids and other results are better known, presented, published, and tangible in our research plots. Describing a 50-Year Farm Bill has helped. Collaboration of our staff with people in other organizations and research facilities here and abroad is further developing a more-or-less self-organizing network of serious, funded work that can begin to mark off achievements toward sustainability.
Long-Term Success

The causes of hunger are complex, but at the core of any solution is the urgent need to conserve soils and water. Arable land per capital is lower than ever in history; the decline in natural soil quality will worsen.

Oil has substitutes through various renewables. Soil does not.

With food, we can work on other problems.

Without food, nothing else will matter.
Program Success Monitored By

Beyond being researchers, we are educators. The faith of the educator is somewhat like the planter of a tree. Establishment takes time and early growth is slow. The metric for influence takes time.

We are just now seeing payoff from “intellectual seeds.” Our stock is up, meaning the emails, phone calls, letters, personal visits and references to our work in print and media have greatly increased. We try to honor all requests for interviews, but it is impossible. Our opinion and materials are sought on numerous issues, including the demise of ocean life and the neuro-network in the brain necessary for people to change their ideas. We conclude that our messages must be getting through.
Examples of Program Success
These are the audiences we reached this year, including the public, resulting in numerous continuing contacts: Yale, Cornell, Grinnell, Austin College, Macalester College, U. SC, KS State, Webster U., U. Northern IA, OH State, OK State, Miami U. and MI State, and the Sustainable Food Conference at the Monterey Aquarium. Abroad: Yunnan Academy of Ag Science; Australian Society of Agronomy; CSIRO, Canberra, Australia; and Charles Sturt U., Wagga Wagga, Australia.

Professional society presentations included AAAS and Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, and next August a half-day seminar at the Ecological Society of America. Pollen transfer, intellectual engagement with collaborators and encouragement of policy change and new ideas are part of our efforts toward a sustainable future.
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Dr. Wes Jackson
Term Start July 1976
Experience
 Wes Jackson,President of The Land Institute, earned a B.A. in biology from Kansas Wesleyan, an M.A. in botany from University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in genetics from North Carolina State University. He established and served as chair of one of the country's first environmental studies programs at California State University-Sacramento and then returned to his native Kansas to found The Land Institute in 1976. He is the author of several books including New Roots for Agriculture, Becoming Native to This Place, Consulting the Genius of the Place, and most recently Nature as Measure. Wes is widely recognized as a leader in the international movement for a more sustainable agriculture. He was a 1990 Pew Conservation Scholar, in 1992 became a MacArthur Fellow, and in 2000 received the Right Livelihood Award (called the "alternative Nobel prize"). Life magazine named Wes Jackson as one of 18 individuals it predicts will be among the 100 "important Americans of the 20th century." In November 2005, Smithsonian called him one of "35 Who Made a Difference."
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start
Compensation Last Year
Senior Staff
Title Managing Director
Experience/Biography  Scott Seirerbecame Managing Director in July 2011. He came to The Land Institute after a 38-year journalism career as a writer, editor and manager at Kansas newspapers, including the Salina Journal, where he served as Executive Editor. Scott is a native of North-Central Kansas and holds an English degree from Fort Hays State University. 
Title Director of Institutional Advancement
Experience/Biography  Jayne Norlin,of Lindsborg, KS, joined The Land Institute on December 1, 2011, as Director of Institutional Advancement. Jayne is originally from Oklahoma City, and holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from The University of Oklahoma. Prior to joining TLI, she taught introductory writing courses at several colleges, was a district representative for Lutheran Brotherhood (a financial services company), and associate vice president for advancement at Bethany College.
Title Director of Research and Ecology
Experience/Biography  Tim Crews is Director of Research and Research Ecologist here at The Land Institute. He is broadly interested in the ecology of perennial polycultures, and he coordinates research collaborations with ecologists and evolutionary biologists at other institutions.  Tim’s specific research focuses on how prairie ecosystems maintain soil fertility, and how these insights can be applied to mixtures of perennial crops to minimize the need for fertilizer inputs.  He received highest honors in the major for his B.A. in Environmental Studies/Agroecology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. He earned a doctorate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University where he conducted dissertation research on soil phosphorus and nitrogen fixation in un-fertilized, traditional Mexican agroecosystems.  He was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University where he studied long term soil and ecosystem development in Hawaiian rainforests, and then went on to take a faculty position at Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona, where he founded and developed a highly successful and recognized undergraduate program in Agroecology. Tim joined the research staff of The Land Institute in 2012.
Staff
Paid Full-Time Staff 31
Volunteers 1
Retention Rate 100%
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation No
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation No
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Under Development
Organization Has a Strategic Plan No
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
External Assessment and Accreditations
Assessment/AccreditationYear
Charity Navigator2012
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
Board Chair
Board Chair Angus Wright
Company Affiliation Professor Emeritus - California State Univ. Sacramento
Term July 2011 to June 2016
Email anguswright@msn.com
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Christina Brown Brown Forman
Brian Donahue PhDBrandeis University
Vivian Donnelley The Dalton School, Admissions, NY
Sam Evans McCormick Theological Seminary
Pete Ferrell Ferrell Ranch, KS
Jan Flora Ph.D.Iowa State University, IA
Eric Gimon PhDBoard member, Flora Family Foundation
Wes Jackson PhDThe Land Institute, KS
Ken Levy-Church Community volunteer
Michelle Mack PhDUniversity of Florida
Patrick McLarney Retired - Shook, Hardy & Bacon
Leigh Merinoff Leigh's Bees; Charmer Sunbelt
Conn Nugent The Heinz Center
John M. Simpson Attorney, MO
Donald E. Worster Ph.D.University of Kansas, Hall Distinguished Professor of American History, KS
Angus Wright Ph.D.California State University, Professor Emeritus, CA
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 16
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 11
Female 5
Unspecified 0
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 96%
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 89%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 3
Standing Committees
Audit
Executive
Investment
Nominating
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
CEO Comments

Remarks by Wes Jackson

All industrial societies have the tools necessary to develop perennial grain polycultures. Masters of those tools include geneticists, ecologists, soil scientists, entomologists, plant pathologists, and others. They have salaries, offices, greenhouses, equipment, research acreage. What they lack is money to support grad students, post docs, technicians, supplies, occasionally more equipment. With funding, recruitment of these masters will come easy. The cost will be little compared the task of addressing climate change. Once firmly established, perennial grain polycultures will have a life of their own. We have estimated that it would take around 100 Ph.D-level scientists to work in clusters in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and Australia, as well as here in North America.

 
The ecologists will be essential, for it is mixtures we want. They possess a body of knowledge gained from billions of dollars to support their research over the last century on how the world’s ecosystems work. Since 1980 the National Science Foundation has funded 26 Long-Term Ecological Research sites, including our Konza prairie 70 miles from here. Ecologists can draw on the results to inform perennial grain polycultures.

 

Where to get the funding? Philanthropists interested in climate change are the most likely early sources. If they focus on the reality that land use is number two behind power plants and ahead of transportation as a source of anthropogenic carbon emission, they will see that perennial grain mixtures could make major inroads in slowing climate change, all the while saving soil from erosion and reducing the necessity to cut forests to compensate for degraded land.

 

The for-profit sector could not make the Green Revolution happen. It took the influence of Vice President Henry Wallace and the money of the Rockefeller Foundation to jumpstart the effort, followed by Ford Foundation, the US Agency for International Development, and finally the World Bank.

 

The Work of the Land has to go beyond our staff and our scattered colleagues if we are to shrink the Goliath of industrial agriculture to a manageable size and deliver a significant blow to the accumulation of greenhouse gases. Our coalition involving the University of Kansas and Kansas State University is working toward that end. The recent gift of Jim and Cindy Hainesfarm 10 minutes from the KU campus will greatly help.
 
 
Make no mistake. As members of our consecrated constituency here today, you should know that you have brought this work to this point in time. Don’t leave us.

 

Financials
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2015
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2016
Projected Revenue $2,848,194
Projected Expenses $2,848,194
Endowment Value $39,000
Spending Policy Income Only
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 6/30/2014: Financial data reported using the IRS Form 990.
  • FYE 6/30/2013, 2012:  Financial data reported using the organization's audited financial statements. 
Detailed Financials
 
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201420132012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$3,489,407$1,094,680$2,011,586
Government Contributions$116,239$0$0
Federal--$0$0
State--$0$0
Local--$0$0
Unspecified$116,239$0$0
Individual Contributions--$1,455,660$2,951,450
$0$0$0
$34,025$58,272$34,504
Investment Income, Net of Losses$35,640$40,483$31,032
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$0$0$0
Revenue In-Kind$1,817,468$0$0
Other$4,014$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$1,896,878$1,506,810$1,335,107
Administration Expense$278,173$274,315$258,664
Fundraising Expense$529,724$401,647$419,207
Payments to Affiliates--$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses2.031.212.50
Program Expense/Total Expenses70%69%66%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue15%16%8%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$14,380,242$11,557,605$11,097,856
Current Assets$7,758,118$5,999,953$4,561,005
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$95,398$67,696$59,570
Total Net Assets$14,284,844$11,489,909$11,038,286
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities81.3288.6376.57
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Organization Comments
Our fiscal year is July 1 through June 30 of the following year. The results of our annual audit arrive in early to mid-September at which time we will update our financial statements with these verified figures.
Organization Name The Land Institute
Address 2440 East Water Well Road
Salina, KS 674019051
Primary Phone (785) 823-5376
Contact Email info@landinstitute.org
CEO/Executive Director Dr. Wes Jackson
Board Chair Angus Wright
Board Chair Company Affiliation Professor Emeritus - California State Univ. Sacramento
Year of Incorporation 1976