Getting to Know Garrison Diversion Directors - Norm Haak

Posted: Jun 23 2020
ND Water June 2020
Kimberly Cook

June 2020 ND Water Director Profile - Norm Haak


Dickey County - Norman Haak

The Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (Garrison Diversion) board of directors consists of an elected official from each member county of the 28-member district. Directors are elected to serve their county for a four-year term. The full board meets quarterly, with additional committees meeting at various points throughout each year.

A large variety of interests and backgrounds provide a diverse group of individuals, but collectively, they all have the same purpose in mind. The members work to fulfill Garrison Diversion’s mission to provide a reliable, high quality and affordable water supply to benefit the people of North Dakota.

As we continue profiling the directors who comprise the board, we introduce to you Norman Haak, Dickey County,
and Bill Ongstad, Wells County.

Norman Haak grew up in South Dakota and farmed near Luverne, Minn., until 1972, at which time he and his wife,
Arlene, moved to a farm near Oakes. They milked cows and won several Quality Milk Producers Awards,t and in 1994, they won the Master Milk Producer Award.

At this point, Norm said he felt like they had received the gold medal, so the milk cows could go. The couple got into
beef cows and raising onions, as well as ran a pumpkin patch for 13 seasons.

Norm was elected to serve as Dickey County’s representative on the Garrison Diversion board of directors in 1987, and also served as chairman of the board from 1997-2000. Currently, Norm is a member of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

During his time with the district, Norm has devoted a great deal of time and energy as a water leader and spent countless hours attending meetings and hearings on behalf of Garrison Diversion and the state of North Dakota. He was an advocate for the Dakota Water Resources Act, testifying in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Garrison Diversion in 1998.

In addition to the Garrison Diversion board, multiple other water organizations have benefitted from Norm’s participation throughout the years including the ND Water Users Association, ND Water Education Foundation, ND Water Resource  Districts Association, Dickey County Water Resource District, Upper Missouri Water Association, and the Family Farm Alliance.

Norm has also been a long-time advocate for irrigation development and spent nearly 20 years on the ND Irrigation Association board. Norm sees the potential irrigation and value-added agriculture have in the state and dedicates time to pursue development and policy on these issues.

He has been recognized in the past with the Soil Conservation Award from the James River Conservation District, Commodore in the North Dakota Mythical Navy from the ND Water Users Association, and Quality Environment Award from the Upper Missouri Water Association, to name a few.

“I have always considered farming and serving on the Garrison Diversion board an opportunity, not a job!” says Norm.

This Navy Veteran has been fully devoted to the water world, given immense time and energy to serve many organizations, and remains active in his local community, church and Gideon’s International. Sharing bibles and serving on several boards bring Norm great pleasure.

Norm and Arlene have four children, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Four years ago, Norm and Arlene built a new home a half-mile from the family farm, but he still enjoys helping his boys with farm projects and is a sale rep for Gowan Seed Co.