Above: Scientist Norman Borlaug is congratulated by President George W. Bush during the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony honoring his work on July 17, 2007. To hear Ken’s coverage of the reaction to Norman Borlaug’s statue, click here.
DES MOINES, Iowa – Today would have been the 100th birthday of agricultural scientist Norman Borlaug.
In life, Borlaug was recognized for his work in increasing wheat and rice production, as well as diligence in getting the seeds into the hands of farmers in developing nations. His work is widely credited with saving one billion people from starvation.
Dean of Agriculture at Iowa State University Dr. Wendy Wintersteen will lead the Iowa State delegation in ceremonies today as a statue of the scientist and humanitarian will be placed in the U.S. capitol’s National Statutory Hall. Wintersteen knew Borlaug in his years after winning the Nobel Peace Prices and saw his untiring effort to improve food production around the world.
“When I think about Norman Borlaug,” she says, “I think about some of the extraordinary presentations he made that said ‘We have to rely on science and technology to move forward; that is our responsibility.’ He also believed deeply that we have the responsibility of addressing hunger and poverty.
“Those two things together really are the path to the future. It saddens me when individuals criticize Norman Borlaug or question the use of science in addressing the world’s needs. So we have to continue to communicate how science helps us move forward, and science in agriculture is probably more important than in any other area.”
A youth symposium will be held for college students interested in food production and alleviating world hunger; only fitting, as Borlaug often focused his attention in bringing new talent into the field and encouraging youth to carry his work further.