Since 2000, the NBHF has had the privilege of preserving both the birthplace and boyhood farms so that future generations of Normans can walk and learn on these sacred grounds. It is here, on this Norwegian farmstead in scenic NE Iowa, that Norm once played and learned about agriculture firsthand. Education is the second focus for the NBHF. We hold annual educational events each spring and fall for school children, host tours, and most recently, adult education days. We are committed to providing a learning environment rich in unique opportunities.
Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation
The Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation owns and maintains Dr. Borlaug’s 107 acre farm in Northeast Iowa. Our education programs emphasize Dr. Borlaug's work on "World Hunger".
NBHF Board Members
President - Laura Schmauss, Vice President - Mark Johnson, Past President- Barb Schwamman, Secretary - Ken Becker, Co-Treasurer - Jack Thomson and Gary Gassett, Maury Kramer, Bill Reed, Tom Spindler, Joanne Lane, Steve Johnson, Dale Vagts, Vickie Grube, Shirley Sovereign, Mary Reicks, Harold Flatland, Todd Knobloch
Founding Board Members
The Foundation board has set the long term endowment goal at $7,000,000. Interest earned on this goal would fund a full-time Borlaug Education Residency Program, Borlaug Farm Preservation and Maintenance Program, Borlaug Scholarship Program and Borlaug Education Seminar Program in perpetuity. In addition, the Foundation board has envisioned a Borlaug Education Outreach Center, to be built on 10 acres reserved for development on Dr. Borlaug’s 107 acre boyhood farm.
Over the last decade the Foundation has restored and preserved the original structures located at the “Boyhood Farm” and adjoining “Birthplace” properties of Dr. Borlaug, in hopes of attracting visitors and learners of all ages to the rural Iowa farmstead. Structures at the properties currently include the houses, barns, a machine shed, chicken coop, and even the one-room schoolhouse Dr. Borlaug had attended in his youth. Visitors will find everything from a set of trees once planted by the young Borlaug himself; to wild prairie flowers in the summertime; to informational signage alongside the walking path that interweaves the properties.
In the past year many visitors traveled to the Borlaug farmstead. The presidents from two of Iowa’s state universities paid a visit. Dr. Ruud president of UNI and Steven Leath president of Iowa State University along with his family and Dean Wendy Wintersteen of the college of Life Science and Ag spent time at the farm. A wide spectrum of visitors – from students and educators, to agriculturalists and legislators – traversed the Northeast Iowa countryside to experience the Borlaug farmstead.
The Foundation continues to host two Inspire Education Days each year, bringing as many area fifth graders as possible and even groups of high school students to the Borlaug farmstead from schools within about a 45-mile radius. At Inspire Education Day, educators incorporate interdisciplinary components of education from science, to global studies, to math, and even music. Students also spend time learning about Dr. Borlaug’s life and accomplishments.
For ten years, Fall Inspire Education Day has taken place in September to coincide with Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest in the nearby county seat of Cresco, Iowa. Each year featured a strong partnership with educators and students from Iowa State University. This past year the University of Iowa joined the partnership. Five years ago, the Foundation added a Spring Inspire Education Day as well, which takes place in May and features a strong partnership with Luther College educators and students. Foundation members collaborate with the college to provide a formative experience for those who will begin student teaching come fall, while also keeping the spirit and educational legacy of Dr. Borlaug alive for even more youth.
AgRiculture, Environmental and Humanitarian Events
In August 2015, the Foundation hosted their second annual Sustainable Farm Institute that also drew many visitors to Dr. Borlaug’s Boyhood Farm and Birthplace. Numerous agriculturalists attended the event, some from as far away as Washington, to learn more about how they might use cover crops in their rotations to reduce soil erosion and to improve soil health. August 2016 will see the third edition of the Sustainable Farm Institute.
September 2015 marked the second time area students at the Borlaug farmstead for Fall Inspire Education Day packaged meals through the non-profit Meals from the Heartland organization. The students packaged over 6,000 meals. While many of these pre-packaged meals stay in Iowa, they are also sent to places like South Africa, Haiti, and the Philippines, as well as New Mexico, to support the Navajo nation.
Increased Community Involvement
The Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation is proud to report a general increase in volunteerism, as well as great committment from the members currently serving on the Foundation’s all-volunteer Board of Directors. The Foundation, now commemorating their 16th year, is also proud to report an increase in collaboration with other existing entities including:
• Iowa State University
• Luther College
• University of Iowa
• The Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest
• Howard-Winneshiek Community School District
• Meals from the Heartland
• Outreach Program
• World Food Prize Foundation
• Cresco Kiwanis
• Silos & Smokestacks
• Cresco Chamber of Commerce
• Iowa Museum Association
• Midwest Bible Mission