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The Legacy of Norman Borlaug “Father of the Green Revolution” Lives On

March 21, 2014
On March 25, Dr. Norman Borlaug, the Father of the Green Revolution, would have celebrated his 100th birthday. In commemoration, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi jointly announced a ceremony to observe the famous Nobel Peace Prize winner on March 25 in the National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol.

Dr. Borlaug was raised in a town called Cresco located in northeast Iowa. He worked on his small mixed crop and livestock family farm while obtaining his initial education in a one-room rural school house. For college, Dr. Borlaug was accepted into the University of Minnesota, where he studied to be a forester. After graduating in 1937 with a BS in Forestry, he went to work for the United States Forest Service and then returned to the graduate school at the University of Minnesota where he took up the study of plant pathology later receiving his Ph.D. in 1942. Years later, the University of Minnesota would house its plant pathology and agronomy programs in Borlaug Hall.

After graduation, Dr. Borlaug worked as a Microbiologist for E.I. Dupont de Nemours, until being released from his wartime service. In 1944, Dr. Borlaug participated in the Rockefeller Foundation's pioneering technical assistance program in Mexico, where he was a research scientist in charge of wheat improvement.

In 1970 Norman E. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for a lifetime of work to feed a hungry world. Dr. Borlaug's greatest achievement was deemed to be his unending struggle to integrate the various streams of agricultural research into viable technologies and to convince political leaders to bring these advances to fruition.

His vision was fully realized upon the establishment of The World Food Prize in 1986. The World Food Prize, becoming the World Food Prize Foundation, honors individuals who have made vital contributions to improve the quality, quantity, or availability of food throughout the world. The World Food Prize is sponsored by businessman and philanthropist John Ruan and is located in Des Moines, Iowa. The Foundation's president is Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn.

Visit The World Food Prize Site to learn more about Dr. Norman Borlaug and his contributions to agriculture and work to end world hunger. Check back next Tuesday for BIO’s blog on the ceremony itself.