An Iowa farm boy born 100 years ago, who would see starving people during the Great Depression and entire fields of crops destroyed by disease, would spend his life tirelessly researching, innovating, teaching, and crusading for progress in agriculture to feed the world.
Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, of Cresco, Iowa, recently took his place among other extraordinary Americans when a 7-foot bronze statue of him was unveiled and placed in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., alongside statues of William Jennings Bryan, Daniel Webster, and Sam Houston.
Dr. Borlaug battled wheat rust disease that was wiping out entire fields; bred new, high-yielding wheat varieties to help feed hungry people; took his new seeds and innovations to regions around the globe; and worked with politicians and others to take science to the farmer.
For his life’s work, Dr. Borlaug is one of only three Americans ever to receive the trifecta of humanitarian awards. He joins Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Elie Wiesel in winning the Nobel Peace Prize, the Congressional Gold Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is the only American to hold all three honors and also the National Medal of Science.
Dr. Borlaug died in 2009 at the age of 95.