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National Ag Day 2014

March 25, 2014

Most people out there don’t know who Norman Borlaug was. Born 100 years ago, he’s touched lives of people he never met, and who don’t know his name. Dr. Borlaug saved lives around the world focusing on what many take for granted – food. He started the green revolution.

These new wheat varieties and improved crop management practices transformed agricultural production in Mexico during the 1940’s and 1950’s and later in Asia and Latin America, sparking what today is known as the “Green Revolution.” Because of his achievements to prevent hunger, famine and misery around the world, it is said that Dr. Borlaug has “saved more lives than any other person who has ever lived.”

That’s a heap of praise. It’s a lifetime achievement.

Plants talk to you – they tell you whether they’re healthy whether they’re happy and the way they develop is an outward manifestation of that.

Now many would dismiss his comment, but if you watch and observe, plants do indicate what they have at that time in health. If the soil is lacking there are signs. Plants can’t get up and move to another location like animals can. Observation is needed for science.

Too often we want an easy fix for some problem. Too often people think we just reach for a sprayer and *poof* the plant is better. The reality is it’s not just disease, pesticides, soil, plant breeding…it’s all of these and more! The production of food is best done matching soil, climate and the best plants for the job.


“I am not one to sit idly by and see man breed himself into the corner by increasing his numbers faster than food production can be increased, and if I have anything to contribute to this world when I know that our scientific facts are right and we have materials that can be brought together in a meaningful production program. I’m going to play that card and play it hard.” -Norman Borlaug 1969

His granddaughter is carrying his work forward.

As agriculture kicks off tributes to family farms, we’re certainly at the crossroads of being one and benefiting from Dr. Borlaug’s work.

May we never take it for granted.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2014 10:40 AM

    Thanks for sharing, Jan! Been reading a bit more about Borlaug. I find it shameful that I didn’t know who he was or anything about his legacy. That might be an education issue, really. I was very involved in FFA and ag organizations and classes growing up. His name still didn’t ring a bell.

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