WASHINGTON – Today a statue of agricultural pioneer Dr. Norman Borlaug was unveiled at the U.S. Capitol’s National Statutory Hall. The ceremony coincided with both National Ag Day and the centennial of Borlaug’s birth in Cresco, Iowa.
“Norman Borlaug was a true pioneer in American agriculture, whose commitment to research and innovation helped to feed starving populations around the world.” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chair and Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow. “He represented the best of the American spirit, and I’m proud that his work and legacy will be enshrined in the Capitol to remind us of this every day.”
“It is fitting that we honor our nation’s great agricultural pioneer on National Ag Day,” said House Agriculture Committee Chair and Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas. “Dr. Borlaug’s groundbreaking work to advance agricultural production and his steadfast support of new technologies have saved billions from hunger, and ultimately laid the foundation for the way of life we enjoy today. I hope when visitors see his statue in the U.S. Capitol, they will be reminded of how far we have come in agricultural production, and how important it is that we continue agricultural research and innovation for the security of our food supply.”
Borlaug is often called the “Father of the Green Revolution,” for his work breeding hardier wheat in Mexico and India. His work is widely credited with saving one billion people from starvation. Borlaug is also the only American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Medal of Science.
“There are very few people of such stature who could warrant two ceremonies in their honor in the United States Capitol,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley. “Just a few years ago we were presenting Dr. Borlaug with the Congressional Gold Medal. Now, our home state has decided to honor this remarkable man with one of its two statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection.
“Dr. Borlaug may not be a name known at every kitchen table. But, this man is one of the greatest humanitarians who has ever lived. He dedicated his life to the development of scientific breakthroughs. This was all in an effort to ease malnutrition and famine around the world. Dr. Borlaug grew up on a family farm in northeast Iowa. His education came in a one-room schoolhouse of immigrant children like himself. It was there where he and his schoolmates learned the common threads between them. And, working together to provide food for their families was more important than any differences that might divide them. This lesson would guide Dr. Borlaug for years to come.
“Dr. Borlaug combined a brilliant vision, hard work, common sense and commitment. He spared more people around the world from sharp hunger pains than any one of us could ever dream of doing. And, it all started in a small, Iowa farmhouse. As a farmer myself, I’ve seen first-hand how Dr. Borlaug’s innovation transformed agriculture. Remarkably, it’s not only impacted developing countries, but his stamp can also be seen in developed countries. Now, his legacy and pioneering work will be on display to educate and inspire the millions who visit the United States Capitol. Dr. Borlaug will continue to inspire generations of scientists and farmers to innovate and lift those mired in poverty.”