PROTIVIN, Iowa- The Norman Borlaug Historic Foundation is working to maintain two farms here in southern Howard County. The farms are ajacent, one is where Borlaug was born, the other, his boyhood home.
Borlaug, credited with saving a billion people with his work cross breeding wheat to grow in harsh climates. He worked in Mexico, India, Pakistan,as well as Africa to help local governments grow wheat to feed their population.
Borlaug and his sisters gave the farms to the Foundation to preserve, and tell the story of a northeast Iowa farm kid, who grew up to battle work hunger. A statue on the farm reads the hand which once fed chickens, went on to feed the world.
“We are responsible for taking care of his birthplace and his boyhood farms,” said Tom Spindler, of the Borlaug Historic Foundation. “Because Norm, when he gave us his farm, he gave us these properties along with the sisters, to preserve because this was an important part of his life this is where he learned his ethical and moral values growing up here.”
Borlaug was going in to high school age about the time tractors were replacing horses. Since his family purchased a new Fordson tractor, Norman was not needed on the farm, and was able to attend high school.
He wrestled and played baseball. He went on to the University of Minnesota.
His groundbreaking work with wheat varieties was done for the Rockefeller Foundation in Mexico.
“He was called the Father of the Green Revolution whose work was done mainly in Mexico but his work spread from Mexico to India, Pakistan to China to Africa and all the different corners of the world," said Spindler.
Here is a link to the Borlaug Foundation for directions to the farms, and contact if you’d like to plan a visit.