Norman Borlaug was a human being who used science to improve agriculture to save hundreds of millions of people.
Borlaug was an Iowa scientist who in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s developed the combination of continuously improving crop varieties and modern production methods that allowed per acre yields in places like India and Pakistan – formerly places of great hunger, malnutrition and often starvation – to radically increase and support the growing population and provide food security.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and a host of other honours, became known as the Man Who Saved A Billion Lives (which was not an exaggeration) and was loved around the world. He died in 2009.
I met and interviewed the man at least twice, as have many agricultural journalists. He was always open and accessible. He was much beloved by the agricultural journalism community. So when the North American Agricultural Journalists met this week in Washington, D.C. for its annual convention, members spent the first part of Tuesday morning in the Capitol, paying homage to the newly-unveiled statue of Borlaug and undertaking a pilgrimage to statuary hall to see how he has taken his place amongst the greatest Americans in history. Here is a short video of our visit.