The father of the Green Revolution and one of agriculture's greatest spokespeople, Dr. Norman Borlaug, will be the recipient of Alltech’s 2014 Medal of Excellence. Alltech, a global leader in animal health and nutrition, will present the posthumous award to Borlaug’s granddaughter, Julie Borlaug Larson, at “What If?” the 30th Annual Alltech International Symposium in Lexington, Ken., USA, from May 18-21.
“Through his adaptation of new wheat technologies and improved crop management practices, Dr. Borlaug saved more than a billion people worldwide from starvation,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech. “Borlaug taught the world to feed itself, mass famines were averted and countries such as Mexico and India became self-sufficient in producing grains. His work continues to inspire us today as we strive to find solutions to feeding nine billion people by 2050.”
Borlaug, who passed away in 2009, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal and the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing the food supply.
A native of Cresco, Iowa, Borlaug received a bachelor of science in biology in 1937 and a doctorate in plant pathology and genetics from the University of Minnesota in 1942. Through an agricultural research position in Mexico, Borlaug developed semi-dwarf, high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties.
During the mid-20th century, Borlaug introduced these high-yielding varieties, combined with modern agricultural production techniques, to Mexico, Pakistan and India. As a result, Mexico became a net exporter of wheat by 1963. Between 1965 and 1970, wheat yields nearly doubled in Pakistan and India, greatly improving food security in those nations. Later, he helped apply these methods of increasing food production to Asia and Africa.
Borlaug Larson, who is the associate director for external relations at Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, Texas A&M University Agrilife, will not only receive the award on behalf of her grandfather, but will also be contributing to Alltech’s Africa session during the Symposium. The Africa session will examine the risks and opportunities that Africa can offer to the world’s food production and agribusiness investors and address such questions as ‘How will farmers gain access to the technologies they need, and markets in which to sell?’ ‘How can Africa exploit its land, sun and rainfall to produce milk, meat and eggs?’ and ‘What if Africa harnessed the power of its oceans for aquaculture?’