about us

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.

Current NBHF Board Members

Vickie Grube, Steve Johnson, Laura Schmauss (President), Nichole Havlik, Tom Spindler (Property Mgr.), Gary Gassett (Treasurer), Maury Kramer, Harold Flatland, Joanne Lane, Mary Reicks, Mark Johnson (VP), Bill Reed, Shirley Sovereign (Secretary), Todd Knobloch, Christina Riessen, Ted Wilson
Not Pictured - Dale Vagts, Neil Shaffer and Dennis Meirick

NBHF Founding Board Members

  • Ted Behrens
  • John H. (Jack) Thomson
  • Steve Johnson
  • Donald P. Arendt
  • Ken Becker
  • Joyce E. Vagts
  • Lori Moore
  • Tony Tremmel
  • Rex Kleckner

Foundation Advisors

  • Ted Behrens
  • Jeanie Borlaug Laube
  • Bill Borlaug
  • Henry Elwood
  • Matthew Behrens

The Future

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.

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Welcome Visitors

NBHF restoration Borlaug FarmOver 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. Learn More
Each year many visitors travel to the Borlaug farmstead. In the fall of 2018, the foundation dedicated the newly restored 1915 Birthplace Barn. We were honored to have Norm's daughter, Jeanie Borlaug Laube, and great grandson as our guests and as part of the dedication ceremony. A wide spectrum of visitors – from students and educators, to agriculturalists and legislators – traverse the Northeast Iowa countryside to experience the Borlaug farmstead and learn more about Norm. 

Inspire Days

NBHF Borlaug Inspire DayThe 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.

Since 2008 Fall Inspire Day has taken place in September to coincide with Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest in the nearby county seat of Cresco, Iowa (where Norm graduated from high school). Each year featured a strong partnership with educators and students from Iowa State University. Recently, the University of Iowa joined the partnership. Several years later, the Foundation added a Spring Inspire 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.

In the fall of 2019, a third educational day for students will be added. This educational event is for high school students and will be conducted through a partnership with faculty and students from Northeast Iowa Community College. Learn More

AgRicultural, Environmental & Humanitarian Events

NBHF Inspire Day Food Packaging

Since 2014, the foundation has held a summer event for adults called the Adult Ag Institute. In August 2016, the Foundation, with support from Iowa Corn Growers, hosted their third annual Ag Institute that drew many visitors to Dr. Borlaug’s Boyhood Farm and Birthplace. Numerous agriculturalists attended the event, some from as far away as Arkansas, to learn from international expert, Dr. Jill Clapperton. She shared with the attendees her research of new crops, rotations, and products that create healthy productive soils as well as technology to help farmers assess soil fertility, plant nutrition and soil microbial activity in real time.  In 2019 the even became the Borlaug Farm Dialogue with workshops and a film. Iowa State and Iowa State Extension and NCRS helped with the sessions.

During the Fall Inspire Day, students have also been involved packaging meals for the Outreach Program. They eagerly package about 10,000 meals to help feed kids in Africa. The NBHF continues to look for ways to educate others about sustainable ways to produce food and feed the hungry - just like Norm!

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 19th 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
  • Iowa Corn Growers
  • Iowa Barn Foundation
  • Northeast Iowa Community College