National Agriculture Day has once again come and gone, and this year’s celebration coincided with another momentous occasion: the 100th birthday of Dr. Norman Borlaug. Recognized around the world as one of the most influential figures in agriculture, Dr. Borlaug is known as the “father of the Green Revolution.” Modern agriculture may not have evolved to what it is today without his many contributions.
His life in agriculture started out small on a mixed crop and livestock farm in Iowa. Later in life, he studied at the University of Minnesota, earning a Ph.D. in plant pathology. Following graduation, he worked as a microbiologist for E.I. du Pont de Nemours (today known as DuPont). Dr. Borlaug’s research with the Rockefeller Foundation on improving wheat varieties in Mexico changed the course of his life and career, and had a huge impact on agricultural production in Mexico. The generations of wheat varieties that he developed in Mexico spread to other regions of the world, including Latin America and Asia. In 1970, Dr. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and he went on to found the World Food Prize.
A statue of Dr. Borlaug was dedicated on National Agriculture Day and installed in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall. The National Statuary Hall Collection is comprised of statues donated by individual states to honor persons notable in their history. Dr. Borlaug now joins the late governor and Senator Samuel Jordan Kirkwood in representing the state of Iowa. Other great figures in the Collection include Helen Keller, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Daniel Webster.
Even though National Agriculture Day 2014 is over, National Agriculture Week continues through Saturday, March 29! You can access resources for National Ag Day and Week here. Don’t miss this creative, Lego-themed video that won this year’s National Ag Day Video Essay Contest.
A newly dedicated statue of Dr. Norman Borlaug, the “father of the Green Revolution,” joined other prominent figures in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall. The statue was dedicated on March 25, 2014, the day of Dr. Borlaug’s 100th birthday and National Agriculture Day. Photo was taken by CLA’s Amanda Griesser.