Norman Lust is a retired farmer and business owner. Norm’s journey to conservation has taken several years, but conservation has always been within him.
Raised with a farming background, he acquired a couple of farms several years ago that weren’t in the best shape. He looked into what needed to be done to make them farmable. This led him to his local Soil and Water Conservation District in Clarke County. He became a commissioner and has served two terms to date. Becoming a commissioner taught him about more ways to improve his farm in rural New Virginia.
“It took about five years to get the farms to where I felt comfortable,” said Norm. “I added mostly filter strips and a little CRP. I cleaned up all the fields and got them back into production and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
Norm’s approach toward his land is through common sense. Wildlife and clean water are at the top of his priority list. He looks closely at his productivity for the environment’s sake. “I didn’t try to force the land into something that wasn’t going to reproduce and give me crops. So I put it into pasture or hay ground. But if it wasn’t there for crops, I didn’t try to crop it.” Norm also has over 200 acres of timber that he is improving as well.
Norman also believes in heritage and education of our youth. “We need to get some agricultural stewardship programs in the school system to teach the kids in town as well as the kids in the country; they’ve got to understand what agriculture really means to them. And we’re losing that.”
In addition to SWCD, Norm also serves on the board for the Southern Iowa Agricultural Heritage Foundation, a farm in rural Osceola used for teaching and demonstrating early agricultural methods. He is also a member of the Clarke County Conservation Board. Norm and his wife, Jean, have four children and five grandchildren. In his spare time, Norm enjoys hunting, fishing, camping and his dogs.