Proving that one person can make a difference, biochemist and world hunger fighter Norman Ernest Borlaug (1914-2009) was born on this day on a farm in Cresco, Iowa, the son of Norwegian immigrants and a self-described “corn-fed, country-bred Iowa boy."
"It was that black soil of the Great Depression that led me to a career in agriculture," he said.
With a doctorate in plant pathology, Borlaug joined a Rockefeller Foundation agricultural project in Mexico from 1944 through 1960, and developed grain that dramatically yielded crops threefold.
He once said, “Pessimism has no place in action."
Working the field with passion and tireless commitment, he created the wheat–rye hybrid triticale, called the “miracle wheat," which helped developing countries become agriculturally self-sufficient and earned him the nickname, “the apostle of wheat.”
His quest to fight hunger, this "Green Revolution," saved as many as one billion people from starvation. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970, he said: "We must recognize the fact that adequate food is only the first requisite for life."
"For a decent and humane life we must also provide an opportunity for good education, remunerative employment, comfortable housing, good clothing, and effective and compassionate medical care."
Throughout his life, Borlaug inspired and trained thousands of young scientists. In 1986, he established the World Food Prize, a $250,000 annual award given to a person whose work increases global food production.
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