What word is strong enough to describe Dr. Norman Borlaug’s contributions to the world? Heroic? Inspiring? Remarkable? Borlaug died late Saturday night from cancer at the age of 95. He grew up in rural Cresco, Iowa, on a small farm. He later dedicated his life to feeding the world’s hungry. Some have estimated he may be responsible for saving the lives of a billion people…a BILLION. Here’s a story my co-worker, Lynn Melling, did three years ago with Dr. Borlaug, where he talked about what’s happened in his life and the work that’s left.
Iowa politicians have released statements in tribute to Dr. Borlaug.
Senator Tom Harkin:
“Norman Borlaug was the Father of Green Revolution and the most beloved and honored Iowan of the 20th Century whose contributions changed the lives of countless Americans and saved billions around the world. The way we farm and thus feed and fuel the world are a result of his influence. Though Dr. Borlaug is no longer with us, his vision for agriculture remains. Today my thoughts are with his entire family.”
Senator Charles Grassley:
“I am honored to have known Norm Borlaug. He was a remarkable man and a true son of the Iowa soil. A tenacity found through wrestling, a love of the soil and a twist of fate helped Norm develop the scientific breakthroughs to ease malnutrition and famine around the world. Norm Borlaug never forgot his roots, right here in the cornfields of Iowa, and Iowans will never forget him. He will continue to inspire generations of scientists and farmers to innovate and lift those mired in poverty. Barbara and I send our deepest condolences to Norm’s family.”
Congressman Bruce Braley:
“Norman Borlaug was considered one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century for good reason. By most estimations, his agricultural innovations saved billions of lives and improved the nutrition and health of countless people across the globe.
“I was honored to meet Mr. Borlaug in 2007 when he received the Congressional Gold Medal at the Capitol, and I’m proud that he was a native Iowan. He will be missed, but the legacy of his life’s work will live on for generations to come. My thoughts are with the Borlaug family during this difficult time.”
Governor Chet Culver:
“On behalf of Lt. Governor Judge, the Culver/Judge Administration, and the people of Iowa, I want to express my deepest sympathies over the passing of Dr. Norman Borlaug and say how grateful we are for his many accomplishments.
“Dr. Borlaug was a true visionary. From humble beginnings on a northeast Iowa farm, Borlaug would go on to change the world. His innovative spirit led to new discoveries in agriculture that would help reduce hunger for countless individuals. More than 1 billion people are alive today because of his work, making Dr. Norman Borlaug one of history’s greatest humanitarians.
“In addition, Dr. Borlaug had a profound impact on his home state as well. He not only revolutionized the way farmers – including those in Iowa – produce food for the world, but each year Iowa proudly hosts the World Food Prize, which recognizes those who continue in his tradition and have helped save even more lives by reducing hunger.
“Dr. Norman Borlaug will always be remembered as a great Iowan, a great American, and a great friend to people across the globe. He will be missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”