March 25, 2014—APLU President Peter McPherson released the following statement on the dedication of a statue of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug in the U.S. Capitol Building. McPherson attended today’s dedication ceremony on what would have been Borlaug’s 100th birthday. Borlaug’s agricultural research is largely credited with saving the lives of more than a billion people as part of the Green Revolution. APLU was the 2012 winner of the World Food Prize’s Borlaug Medallion, which is awarded to organizations and Heads of State who’ve made an especially noteworthy contribution to improving the world’s food supply and ensuring adequate nutrition.
“Dr. Norman Borlaug was an extraordinary person, scientist, teacher, humanitarian, and American. I’m grateful to have known him. By having his statue placed inside the U.S. Capitol Building, the Borlaug legacy will be further enshrined for generations of Americans to come. This is a fitting honor for a man whose lifelong commitment to the land-grant mission of learning, discovery, and engagement led to the agricultural breakthroughs that saved more than a billion lives in what is known as the Green Revolution.
“I got to know Norman Borlaug well during my time in the 1980’s as USAID Administrator where I came to rely on his wise counsel and vision as we worked to meet the world’s food supply needs. Despite the more than billion mouths he helped feed, Norman Borlaug was relentless in his pursuit of additional agricultural research and methods to feed even more.
“The statue of Dr. Norman Borlaug that now sits in the U.S. Capitol Building will pay tribute to his accomplishments and legacy while simultaneously serving as a call to action. With the world population expected to grow by more than 2.2 billion people by 2050, scientists and farmers must find ways to produce 70 percent more food with the smallest carbon footprint possible. Any solution to the global food supply challenges must be achieved in a sustainable manner that protects water supplies, minimizes energy consumption, and avoids the destruction of forests, wetlands, and other natural habitats.
“Land-grants and other public universities are uniquely positioned to help meet this challenge. Borlaug had three degrees from a land-grant institution (the University of Minnesota), taught and researched at a land-grant institution (Texas A&M University), and the World Food Prize he established to recognize great achievements in meeting the world’s food needs is closely aligned with another land-grant institution in his home state (Iowa State University). Land-grant universities have long prided themselves on conducting the critical research needed to help solve the world’s problems and then implementing them through extensive domestic and international partnerships. Our land-grant universities will honor Norman Borlaug by committing to solving these new, complex food supply challenges through research, teaching, and partnerships.”