Dr. Norman Borlaug

† March 25, 1914 – September 12, 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate The Father of the Green Revolution Dr. Borlaug served on Legacy’s Board from Legacy’s incorporation in 2006 and gave five hours of interview for the benefit of future generations. Link to Dr. Borlaug’s biography

World-renowned as the “Father of the Green Revolution” that led to his induction into the exclusive list of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Norman Ernest Borlaug in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increased food supply.

Dr. Borlaug was an American agronomist who led initiatives worldwide that contributed to the extensive increases in agricultural production. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Dr. Borlaug was awarded multiple honors for his work, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

Borlaug received his Bachelor of Science degree in forestry in 1937 and a Ph.D. in plant pathology and genetics from the University of Minnesota in 1942. He worked as an agricultural researcher with CIMMYT in Mexico, where he developed semi-dwarf, high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties. Dr. Borlaug led the introduction of these high-yielding varieties combined with modern agricultural production techniques to Mexico, Pakistan and India. As a result, Mexico became a net exporter of wheat by 1963. Between 1965 and 1970, wheat yields nearly doubled in Pakistan and India, greatly improving the food security. Later in his life, he helped apply these methods of increasing food production in Asia and Africa.[12]

Shining through his achievements, Dr. Borlaug added famous touch of the practical humanitarian: arranging to put the new cereal strains into extensive production in order to feed the hungry people of the world – and thus providing, as he says, “a temporary success in man’s war against hunger and deprivation,” a breathing space in which to deal with the “Population Monster” and the subsequent environmental and social ills that too often lead to conflict between men and between nations.

An eclectic, pragmatic, goal-oriented scientist, he welcomed and discarded various methods in a constant search to improve, while at the same time avoiding the pursuit of what he called “academic butterflies”. A vigorous man who was not afraid of manual labor in the fields, he brought to his work competitive spirit and tenacity of a wrestling champion, a discipline he developed was in his high school and college.

Dr. Borlaug stated that sports taught him many lessons. Watch this highlight from one of his five hours of interview here. According to Dr. Borlaug, “I said if I could go out there and battle the toughest physically, I can do it mentally and scientifically.”

Dr. Borlaug contributed five hours of life story interview to Legacy and served on the Advisory Board from 2009.