Lime Springs native Abby Kennon is 2018 Borlaug-Thomson Intern


CRESCO - Abby Kennon, a native of Lime Springs, serves as the Borlaug-Thomson Intern with the Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation in Cresco this summer.
Kennon is a 2016 graduate of Crestwood High School. Her parents are Jeff and Tess Kennon, and she has a sister, Cassy. She will enter her junior year at Iowa State University in the fall.
Howard County residents likely saw Kennon participate at the Mighty Howard County Fair over the years; she served as Fair Queen in 2015.
This week, she returns to the fair in her internship capacity.
“I will be at the fair helping out in any manner I can; I’ll also be working in the Historical Building for the Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation’s booth,” she said.
Kennon, as a local, had known about the internship, so when she saw a notice posted at Iowa State University, she knew she had to apply.
“I’m an agronomy major, and in that program, I get newsletters every week on scholarship opportunities, as well as job and internship opportunities, which is something I really like about the program. I saw a subscript for the Borlaug-Thomson internship. As a local, I had known about the internship, and I worked on the fairgrounds every summer and met the interns,” she said.
“I am really passionate about world hunger. There are people out there starving.  I first learned about the severity of global hunger through one of my classes. My professor was very passionate, so that inspired me, as well. In the Borlaug-Thomson internship, I’m learning so much about one significant influence, Dr. Norman Borlaug.
In the future, I want to educate and help prevent future world hunger issues.”
“They’ve never had a local intern before; I think it’s an advantage in that I know a variety of people from the area. They already know me; we’ve interacted in the past, so that’s an advantage. I can then go a step or two further in planning what I want to do for the foundation in terms of increasing their contact list.
The first day on the job, we went to Des Moines and we had a meeting with the World Food Prize. Through them, we’re extending our family tree of people I can reach out to; being a local person, I can create more paths. Networking is a huge plus. I’m making a list of future events the foundation is hosting. The first Saturday of every month, they are doing tours at the farm,” she said.
Tom Spindler has hosted various ages of student on the farm; I helped students garden. Youth are very important; they are the key to our future. I am an older generation of the youth. We have Inspire Day at the farm, and we’re doing another Inspire Day with Northeast Iowa Community College. Growing up in the area, I have helped with day camps, helped with 4-H, so I want to use that as a pull to get more youth out to the farm.”
Kennon describes her internship duties:
“It’s 70 percent with Borlaug Foundation and 30 percent with Extension office. At the Extension office, my duties have a lot to do with the (Mighty Howard County Fair), livestock show, Clover Kids, helping them graduate and sending them onto 4-H the next year. With the foundation, one of the questions asked is, ‘What are your plans to improve the foundation? We’ve hosted various events; we had Congressman Steve King out at the farm, I’m organizing an ag institute July 18. I’m responsible for RSVP’ing everything, marketing and advertising. Dr. Borlaug had said he wanted his boyhood home to be used to educate. He wanted to preserve it as a center for education,” she said.
To that end, the agriculture institute takes place on July 18 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Norman Borlaug Boyhood Home.
“At the ag institute we’re having speakers and demonstrations. If I had a theme to give it, I’d say ‘cover crops.’ Farmers would benefit from it, and so would community members if they wanted to come learn about it. We have a bio-reactor and saturated buffer demonstration. We have a cover crop plot being planted with several different varieties of cover crops.  Cover crops are a growing interest among farmers. There is a RSVP out to the Spokesman and posters printed.”
Kennon’s future goals are already taking shape: “I hope to work with the World Food Prize (in Des Moines), where I just finished an internship this past winter. I would love to do the youth programs. I would be traveling to schools and having schools visit the World Food Prize and hosting the Iowa Youth Institute which I helped organize this year; I loved every second of it. I’d also help organize the Global Youth Institute.  It’s a very travel-oriented job.”
“I’ve been approached by Ambassador Kenneth Quinn of the World Food Prize and I’m on their reserve corps, a volunteer for all of their future events. I plan to attend The Borlaug Dialogue in October and celebrate my birthday learning about Dr. Borlaug. I want to become a part of the board of the Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation after I’m done with my education,” she said.
In the meantime, Kennon said she has thoroughly enjoyed her experience as a Borlaug-Thomson intern: “The internship has exceeded my expectations; I have loved every second of it. I love meeting new people and talking to new people.
“This internship has helped me work with the community that I love so much.”

Cresco Times

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

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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