Norman E. Borlaug

Norman E. Borlaug, world-renowned agricultural scientist, began his academic career with a B.S. degree in forestry in 1937 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant pathology in 1940 and 1942, from the University of Minnesota. He worked as a microbiologist for E.I. Dupont and Company and then was appointed geneticist and plant pathologist assigned to organize and direct the Cooperative Wheat Research and Production Program in Mexico as a joint undertaking between the Mexican government and the Rockefeller Foundation. This outstanding program made Mexico self-sufficient in wheat production by 1956 and laid the foundation for further improvement of wheat production in other areas of the world.

In 1964, Dr. Borlaug became director of the Wheat Research and Production Program, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. In that position, he focused his efforts on wheat research and production problems and on training young wheat scientists worldwide. For his research on dwarf varieties of wheat, now commonly called the “Green Revolution,” Dr. Borlaug was awarded the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. For his lifetime of work to feed a hungry world, he is credited with saving more lives than any person who has ever lived.

During a long and illustrious career, Dr. Borlaug has been honored by scores of governments, universities, scientific associations, farmers’ groups, and civic associations. He holds numerous honorary doctoral degrees and belongs to the academies of science in 12 nations. He was awarded the presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and was the driving force behind the establishment of the World Food Prize in 1985.

Since 1984, Dr. Borlaug has been the Distinguished Professor of International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. And since 1986, he also has been President of the Sasakawa Africa Association and leader of the Sasakawa-Global 2000 Agricultural Program in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, several thousand men and women agricultural scientists from more than 50 countries are proud to say they are Norman Borlaug’s students.

Dr. Borlaug has been an advocate of CAST since its founding in 1972. He became an individual member in 1973 and was the featured speaker at the CAST–Industry Conference, held in January of that year, at which CAST was introduced to the agribusiness community. In October 1982, when CAST commemorated its first decade of service, the occasion was highlighted by the presentation to Dr. Borlaug of CAST’s first Distinguished Achievement Award in Food and Agricultural Science. In September 1998, CAST participated in a recognition ceremony, held during an American Crop Protection Association (now CropLife America) annual meeting, that honored Dr. Borlaug for his contributions to agricultural science. Dr. Richard E. Stuckey, then-Executive Vice President of CAST, presented Dr. Borlaug with a trophy and commended him for his scientific and humanitarian contributions to reduce the extent of hunger and starvation in the face of the 20th century population explosion as well as for his efforts to stimulate development of the technological advances that would lead the food and fiber, agricultural, and environmental efforts required in the 21st century.

In March 2004 when Dr. Borlaug turned 90, the global scientific community and many world leaders joined in the celebration and saluted him as one of the greatest humanitarians who has ever lived. He was hailed as not only a scientist, but a doer and an activist who believes in the power of science to better the lives of people everywhere, especially in the developing world.