Ag Right: Do you know who Norman Borlaug was?
This summer, at a National Press Fellowship foundation in St. Louis, one of the speakers noted -- in a mixture of indignation and frustration -- that some critics of our modern food system say bad things about Norman Borlaug.
This summer, at a National Press Fellowship foundation in St. Louis, one of the speakers noted - in a mixture of indignation and frustration - that some critics of our modern food system say bad things about Norman Borlaug.
Borlaug, as aggies know, was the father of the “Green Revolution.” He revolutioned crop breeding techniques to boost yields, especially in developing countries, and helped to save more than 1 billion people from starvation.
Critics claim Borlaug’s work has led to more use of water and chemical fertilizer, resulting in all sorts of social, economic and environmental problems.
Well, the 2016 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application was announced today. Andrew Mude, a Kenyan economist, received the award for individuals under the age of 40. He was honored for his work in developing insurance for “never-before-insured communities whose livlihoods depend on herding cattle, goats, sheep and camels in the remote, arid and drought-prone lowlands in the Horn of Africa.” He’s credited with “novel use” of satellite data in his work.
To most aggies, Borlaug was a great scientist and human being. To the critics, he was sincere but misguided. I’m in the first camp.
I wrote a story about Borlaug two years ago on the 100th anniversary of his birth. You can read it here