Borlaug-Thomson summer intern is Kayleigh Koch


CRESCO - Kayleigh Koch will soon be a familiar face around town this summer in her role as the Borlaug-Thomson Intern, as she helps keep the legacy of Cresco’s famous native son and his agricultural accomplishments alive.
Koch will help promote the boyhood home of Dr. Norman Borlaug (1914-2009), known as the ‘Father of the Green Revolution,’ and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. Borlaug is credited for saving thousands of lives by introducing varieties of disease-resistant wheat to countries whose food supplies could not keep up with population growth.  The farm is located outside of Cresco at: 19518 200th St.
Originally from Hawkeye, Iowa, Koch will begin her junior year at Iowa State University this fall. She is majoring in agricultural business.
She describes how she first heard about the Borlaug-Thomson internship:
“I heard about the internship through Dr. (David) Acker, who is the liaison between the college and Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation, and who serves as the Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,” she said.
Koch said Dr. Acker interviewed a set number of students based on their resumes. She was chosen for the position, and began the internship in Cresco in mid-May.
As intern, Koch’s duties are numerous:
“So far I’ve been taking care of the farm, weeding the gardens, putting mulch down, and planting vegetable gardens,” she said.
In an homage to Borlaug, Koch also planted wheat.
“I planted a wheat plot with three different varieties, because Borlaug’s main crop was wheat. I thought it would be fun to bring that here, because not a lot of people plant wheat in Iowa,” she said.
“It was a fun project that I hope others can learn from. The wheat was donated by Farmers Mill in Protivin and La Crosse Seed and Al Halverson,” she said.
In addition to her work on the Borlaug boyhood farm, the public is welcome to visit with Koch during the Mighty Howard County Fair in Cresco (Tuesday, June 20-Sunday, June 25).
“People can come and see me on the farm or in the Extension office anytime,” Koch said. “I’ll be putting in a lot of time preparing for the fair. I’ll help with livestock shows and anything in the 4-H building. I’ll work in the historical building in the Borlaug booth from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. 
Following the Howard County Fair, Koch will continue working with the public to educate people about Borlaug and his legacy.
“I will keep working on projects to improve the farm, and give tours. I am planning a children’s lesson about Norman Bolaug at Cresco Public Library in July, and will help out with the agriculture story hour in June,” she said.  (The agriculture story hour at Cresco Public Library, hosted by Howard County Farm Bureau Outreach Coordinator Rachel Myers, takes place Wednesday June 7, 14 and 28 at 10 a.m.).  
To schedule a tour of the Norman Borlaug boyhood farm, contact the Cresco Area Chamber of Commerce at: 563-547-3434.
Koch’s duties also include assisting with RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) as it arrives in Cresco for an overnight stay Thursday, July 27.  
Sept. 15, Koch will return to Cresco to assist the Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation with its annual autumn Inspire Education Day, where area fifth grade students visit the farm and learn about Borlaug and his legacy.
She also said she wants to spread word about the Norman Borlaug boyhood farm to other places of historic interest in Iowa.
“I’m sure there are a lot of local people who haven’t seen the farm before. I live only about a half-hour from the farm, but hadn’t been to it before this internship. The farm is now a part of Silos & Smokestacks, so I think it would be great to send brochures about the farm to other Silos & Smokestacks locations in Northeast Iowa, and to visitors’ centers,” Koch said.
Meanwhile, Koch is thankful the Cresco community has welcomed her in her role as Borlaug-Thomson Intern.
“So far, everyone in the community has been welcoming and nice,” she said. “Just this morning, I was getting into my car, and a neighbor who was walking her dog stopped and introduced herself. Everyone has been so friendly and reaching out. I hope to plan an appreciation night at the end of the summer for everyone who has helped me and helped the foundation during the summer throughout the past year,” she said.
Koch said, “I would like to thank the Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation for their support in the internship program, Sue Barnes at the Howard County Extension for daily guidance, Connie Ashley for providing a home for me for the summer, and lastly Maury and Martha Kramer and the rest of the town of Cresco for being welcoming and friendly.”
The Borlaug-Thomson Intern program is a scholarship program hosted in conjunction with Iowa State University. The selected candidate works with the NBHF for 8 weeks during the summer in a variety of capacities.
For more information about the Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation, the Norman Borlaug boyhood farm and the Borlaug-Thomson Internship, visit the foundation’s website at:

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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