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  • Honoring the Father of the Real Green Revolution

    Norman Borlaug is certainly not a household name. But he should be. A man of utmost importance who always displayed tremendous humility, Borlaug passed away this weekend at the age of 95. Dr. Borlaug was a plant scientist and his “breeding of high-yielding crop varieties helped to avert mass famines that were widely predicted in the 1960s, altering the course of history. Largely because of his work, countries that had been food deficient, like Mexico and India, became self-sufficient in producing cereal grains.”

    Greg Conko, Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has more:

    Perhaps Borlaug’s biggest contribution was the development of an accelerated breeding schedule he called “shuttle breeding,” which let him improve the genetic composition of his wheat lines twice as quickly as with normal breeding. Despite opposition from fellow plant breeders who insisted this couldn’t be done, Borlaug and his team would grow one generation of plants at the higher elevations around Mexico City during the summer, and then grow a second generation at sea level some 700 miles to the north near the Sonoran coast during the winter. Not only did shuttle breeding work, by doubling the progress of Borlaug’s breeding schedule, it also had the fortunate, but unintended side effect of producing wheat strains that were not sensitive the amount of light received each day, as nearly all other plant breeds are.

    In just four years, Mexico went from importing almost all the wheat its people consumed to being self-sufficient in wheat production. Borlaug continued working in Mexico, but by the 1960s, his reputation had spread around the world. He was called on first to travel to India and Pakistan to help improve wheat production there. And after a stunning success, he went on to the Philippines and China, where his innovative breeding methods were used to raise yields in the rice varieties consumed by roughly half the world’s population. By the 1980s, Borlaug teamed up with Japanese billionaire philanthropist Ryoichi Sasakawa to try to spread the Green Revolution to Africa. Wherever he went, the combination of better plant varieties, along with agricultural chemicals such as anhydrous ammonia and other inorganic fertilizers, and synthetic herbicides and insecticides, have helped to more than triple wheat yields in less developed countries since the 1950s.”

    He deservedly won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work. Borlaug is a very important example of what innovation and ingenuity can do to change the lives of millions. He is what George Mason economist Don Boudreaux calls a “genuine hero of humanity.”

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Honoring the Father of the Real Green Revolution

    1. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      Another stellar example of great contributions to the world. A great man.

    2. Bobbie Jay says:

      God bless him and his family. Thank God for this wonderful man.

    3. JOHN PAUL JONES,M.D. says:

      An example of how the system should work to better mankind.

    4. Grace, Florida says:

      Perhaps Borlaug should have been a household name. These are the kind of men that should be applauded. Thank you Mr. Borlaug.

    5. Charles-Odessa says:

      While the spotlight is on the stars of today, it should be on the producers, the scientists, the engineers, and those blazing new ways to build up society.

      Their contributions last while the stars are there only for a short period of time.

      Thanks to this wonderful man, many this morning did not go hungary.

    6. Lois-TX says:

      We heard Mr.Borlaug speak many years ago in IA. Is sad that the much of the world has not listened to his wisdom, including United States. Many more lives could be saved.

    7. Terri from Ok says:

      We honored his work when I was studying in the Ag college at OSU. May he rest in peace. May the uncounted billions he has fed live in peace and produce leaders who contribute to the human race. Ideas have consequences.

      Evil is more memorable than good, but only because we allow it to be.

    8. Ben Franklin, IN says:

      I once read an article in NR that went something like: Because of the advent of Kerosene (which was cleaner, cheaper and better than whale oil), onc ecould conclude that Rockefeller and Standard Oil did more to save the world's whales than all the efforts of Greenpeace ever could.

    9. Linda Carlsbad, CA says:

      Thank you Mr. Borlaug for making such a great contribution to the world!

    10. Dean F. St.Croix Fal says:

      Mr. Borlaug believed that using corn to make fuel for cars is bad for humanity.

    11. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      This man, and others like him never make it to our Nation's headlines, do they?

      Each of us need to make a copy of this and take it down to the newspaper(s) in our towns and cities, and ask them," Why?"

      Hozro

    12. James Green, NM says:

      A wonderful example of human ingenuity. Afganistan use to be the wheat producer of the middle East. With the tremendous amounts of water rushing out of the mountains there, it seems to me that not only electric power to be generated, but the huge amounts of wheat to be irrigated and a profitable crop. Need to instill the advantages of being a farmer and get the positive going with Mr. Borlaug's wheat strain. Thanks for the info.

    13. Kay, los angeles says:

      "The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would steal them away." – Ronald Reagan

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