Borlaug’s Legacy Lives On

Norman Borlaug brought millions of people together during his lifetime–but that was usually around field plots, research stations, and dinner tables. On March 25, his legacy will gather a diverse group of experts, dignitaries, and celebrities for the unveiling of a statue of Borlaug that will be placed in the National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol.

Bill and Melinda Gates, John Kerry, and Dan Gable will join politicians from both sides of the aisle to honor the crop scientist credited with saving a billion people from starvation. The date falls on what would have been Borlaug’s 100th birthday, and the occasion comes due to a bipartisan effort in the Iowa Legislature.

Dr. Borlaug is one of only five people in history to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal. He also contributed to the world of agriculture by inspiring the World Food Prize in 1986. Through his research and his dedication to feeding the world, he changed the course of agriculture. Click here for a short video about Borlaug’s influence.

Borlaug with CAST from the Early Years
Dr. Borlaug was born in Iowa, and he maintained many connections with his home state–including a long relationship with the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. His remarks on behalf of CAST at the initial CAST-Industry meeting in 1973 later appeared as CAST’s first published paper, and articles on Borlaug’s life and work have appeared in several CAST publications.

By all accounts Borlaug remained humble and grounded, but he continued to receive accolades, including CAST’s first “Distinguished Achievement Award in Food and Agricultural Science” as part of CAST’s tenth anniversary. In 2005, CAST presented the Charles A. Black Award to Dr. Borlaug for his outstanding achievements as a scientist, educator, and communicator (photo at right).

Dr. Borlaug’s final contribution to CAST was the preface to CAST Issue Paper 45, Agricultural Productivity Strategies for the Future: Addressing U.S. and Global Challenges. CAST continues to honor Dr. Borlaug, and the organization strives to live up to his comments about CAST:  “We need to pool our scientific knowledge as well as our cultural knowledge. I think that membership in CAST is a long step forward toward achieving that. I have watched with delight the vacuum that has been filled by CAST in presenting soundly based scientific publications covering a vast array of subjects that relate to agriculture and animal industry.” 

by dan gogerty (photos from and CAST)

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