This month marked the passing of a great conservationist. On October 2nd, my dad, Ludwig Buman, yielded to colon cancer; dying at the age of 91. Dad’s name will never be etched among the likeness of Hugh Hammond Bennett, Theodore Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, or “Ding” Darling, but his children will tell you his name belongs on that list.
Dad was not a great orator. He did not lead a conservation agency. He never desired the power to create national parks. He did not publish scientific papers, nor did he incite public outcry against egregious environmental calamities. Dad was a humble and gentle farmer; a character out of All Creatures Great and Small. His conservation achievements stemmed from his desire to do the right things; not some of the time, but all the time.
He did not implement conservation for recognition or glory. His efforts did not result in riches or fame. He did not do it for a “cause.” He lived conservation because “it was the right thing to do.” He did it to preserve a family farm; to leave the land better than he found it. Dad walked the walk without even talking the talk.
Up until the end, Dad share-cropped with my brother, Bill. With Dad’s conviction, Bill continues to farm using cover crops, small grains, no-till, terraces, grassed waterways, contouring, headlands, riparian filter strips, windbreaks, split-nitrogen applications, native grasses/forbs, beehives, and significant pollinator habitat.
A Legacy of Conservation:
Dad left a long legacy of conservation actions, but his greatest achievement was his desire to pass on his love for the environment and a conservation ethic to his seven children and eight grandchildren. Dad fulfilled his conservation legacy by successfully passing his conservation ethics down through two generations.
A Remarkable Effort:
Traveling, side by side with Mom, every year Dad would pack his seven children in a station wagon, no air conditioner or video player, and travel as far away as Glacier National Park to camp in the wilderness with his family. He felt compelled to give his children the experiences necessary to appreciate the outdoors and understand the importance of conservation.
The world needs more conservationists like my dad. His family will miss his kindness, gentleness, and conservation leadership.
Tom, this is such a wonderful tribute to your father. I know you made him very proud. Condolences to your family.
Thank you Nikki, I appreciate you kind words. I know Dad was proud of all of his children.
Roger Ross Gipple
Thanks for sharing your dad’s story. You were fortunate to have him until age 91. Best wishes to you and your family.
Roger, I never forget how lucky we are to have had all those years with Dad.
Tom I had the pleasure of knowing Lud during my 28 years of living in the Harlan area. You described him just as I knew of him. He was passionate about preserving the land. He certainly had to be proud of you, Bob, Bill, and Stan as the career paths you all chose I am certain he had a lot to do with. May he Rest In Peace
Thank you Dave,
I appreciate your kind words. You are right, Dad was always proud of all of his children.
John J Pauli
Yes, Tom, Thanks for sharing we always more people doing the right things just because it is right. Passsing the knowledge and feeling on to inspire others is the true greatness.
What a great way to remember your Dad. Traveling in a station wagon with no air — been there and done that. Thank you for sharing your memories. That is the best way to honor your Dad. Take care.
Yes, thank you for sharing. What a great legacy to pass on. I would be very proud indeed and admire his priorities.
Tom, your father truly left a great legacy in instilling his conservation values with you and your family. You’ve done a great service in carrying on those values, and in sharing a little about your father with the rest of us who did not have the honor to meet him.
As one who’s also lost a father from that generation and from an Iowa farm, I know it’s a difficult loss. Our prayers out go to your and your family. And, thank you for sharing his legacy through your words.
Thank you Steve. My dad (and your dad) was from a great generation of farmers.
Such a wonderful tribute to your Dad! Thanks for writing and sharing such a beautiful post! My condolences to you, Tom and your family.
Thank you Billie,
Tom, as I do, I’d made sure to save the email notice of a new ‘Tom’ posting until the first opportunity I had to read it—so I just read it and was touched by your moving tribute. Well done.
Brad, thank you. It is good to hear from you. No doubt you have met many farmers like Dad throughout the years. Those farmers are truly the “salt of the earth”.
Tom, thank you for sharing these touching thoughts. People like your father have touched my life and work, too. We owe them a great deal.
Anita, as you know Dad was not unique in is passion for conservation and stewardship. There are certainly other farmer/conservationists like Dad. However agriculture definitely needs a lot more. Thank you for your comment.
I am late in reading this, but deep sympathies to your family for your loss. Your dad sounds remarkable, and he is now on my personal memory list of Iowa’s conservation heroes and heroines.
Thank you Cindy. Dad was a great conservationist, but more importantly he was a terrific dad and mentor.