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Borlaug Multimedia Resources: Books, Audio, Video, Poetry, Painting...

Unsung Hero: The Man Who Fed the World

From the day he was born in 1914, Norman Borlaug has been an enigma. How could a child of the Iowa prairie, who attended a one-teacher, one-room school; who flunked the university entrance exam; and whose highest ambition was to be a high school science teacher and athletic coach, ultimately achieve the distinction as one of the one hundred most influential persons of the twentieth century? And receive the Nobel Peace Prize for averting hunger and famine? And eventually be hailed as the man who saved hundreds of millions of lives from starvation--more than any other person in history?

What is it that made Norman Borlaug different? What drove him? What can we--especially our youth--learn from his life?

Those questions are answered in Leon Hesser’s authorized biography, The Man Who Fed the World: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug and His Battle to End World Hunger (Durban House Publishing, September 2006, hardcover, $24.95)

In the book’s foreword, Dr. Borlaug's good friend and fellow Nobel laureate Jimmy Carter wrote, "Since 1986, I have had the distinct pleasure of working with Norman Borlaug in sub-Saharan Africa where, in spite of AIDS, endemic malaria and other maladies, populations are increasing faster than food supplies. I have witnessed first-hand the reverence that thousands upon thousands of Africans have for Dr. Borlaug’s untiring efforts to relieve their hunger. … I commend Leon Hesser for making more people aware of the remarkable life and achievements of this American hero."

In addition to an earned Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Borlaug has been awarded more than fifty honorary doctorates from institutions in eighteen countries. At age 91, Borlaug made three trips during 2005 to Africa and one each to India and Argentina in his continuing efforts to relieve hunger. During each fall semester, he serves as Distinguished Professor of International Agriculture at Texas A&M University.

To request a copy of The Man Who Fed the World or to schedule an interview with Leon Hesser, please contact Diana Oleskow, publicist, at (239-293-1585) or dianabob2(at)comcast.net.


Norman Borlaug on World Hunger (The book)

Book by Anwar Dil (Ed.). 1997. Bookservice International. 499 pages;
ISBN: $25 Hardcover 0-9640492-3-6 / $ 15 Paperback 0-9640492-2-8


I have a special reason for putting together these selected speeches and writings of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug. These essays present a most thoughtful, challenging discussion of some of the key issues facing the human family today and a world view of a man who has been recognized by many around the world as "one of the greatest benefactors of human race in the modern times" and "a man who has pushed back the frontiers of hunger" and contributed to the creation of a climate in which peace is possible. - Anwar Dil

For fifty-two years, Dr. Norman Borlaug has been helping to provide more food to the most needy areas of the world. But perhaps of greater importance, this distinguished scientist-philosopher has been demonstrating practical ways to give people of the entire world a higher quality of life. These thoughtful and challenging essays, written by him since his well-earned award of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1970, deserve to be read with interest and care by all concerned men and women. - Jimmy Carter, Former President of The United States of America, 1996.

Dr. Norman Borlaug holds the record for longevity as a "persistent pioneer" in the development of a new cooperative approach among the countries of the world in the alleviation of hunger. ...Professor Anwar Dil is to be highly commended for his initiative and hard work in the publication of this important book. It should be read by, and be in the library of, everybody involved in or concerned about eradicating hunger and feeding the people. - From the Foreword by Dr. Edwin J. Wellhausen, First Director General of CIMMYT, Mexico, 1996

Orders may be paced on the internet from at http://members.aol.com/iforum/BlgOnHgr.htm

Or e-mail for brochure/order form at: <Iforum@aol.com >


Audio Birthday Greeting from AgBioWorld for Norman Borlaug's 90th Birthday

Happy Birthday Dr. Borlaug
Voice: Shaurice Carr
Script: Andrew Apel


Video of Discussion with Borlaug on 'Africa Agricultural Crisis' and 'Future Global Food Production'


Here, you can view some samples there as well as order videos and/pr transcripts.

Africa's Agricultural Crisis

Will Africa eventually be plunged into large-scale famine as its agricultural crisis deepens? Discussing the grave status of food production in the African continent are Dr. Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize Winner 1970, Dr. Robert Chandler, Founding Director Emeritus of the International Rice Research Institute, and Dr. Nyle Brady, International Development Consultant for the World Bank and the United Nations. Borlaug, Chandler and Brady describe how Africa's per capita production of food peaked in the 1960's and has declined ever since. They discuss Africa's infrastructure problems, and how typical African nations lack a distribution and marketing system. They also consider the problems of poor soil quality and burgeoning populations. Borlaug, Chandler and Brady offer solutions to Africa's food production crisis, and suggest strategies for how the continent can avert famines and other disasters. They particularly concentrate on the central problems of distribution and production. They also touch on such diverse topics as foreign assistance, the inadequacy of rural education, the importance of reaching women and children, the lack of chemical fertilizers, and the lack of knowledge of modern irrigation techniques. Finally, the group considers how African government policies might be changed, and how to approach Africans with innovation to address their agricultural problems.


Future Global Food Production

Can world agriculture production keep pace with a burgeoning human population? Dr. Norman Borlaug, 1970 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Robert Chandler, Founding Director Emeritus of the International Research Institute, and Dr. Matthew McMahon of the World Bank's Latin American Division, discuss the ongoing battle to feed the world. They consider many puzzles of world agriculture, such as: how can we sustain high yield in the world's already productive areas? How can we better manage irrigation? How can we increase productivity in poorer countries? How can we prevent soil erosion in inhospitable climes? How can we increase capital investment in rural education and agriculture? Drs. Borlaug, Chandler and McMahon use the benefit of their combined 100 years of experience in world agriculture to explain different food production experiments in the far corners of the globe; Brazil, Bangladesh, India, Sierra Leone, and others. They predict where the greatest food crises will occur in the future, and discuss at length the problem of the explosion of human population. Borlaug, Chandler and McMahon stress the importance of rural education, and describe the conundrum that farming, while very important to a self-sustaining nation, is considered low-prestige, and how that degraded status affects global food production. They also consider the dilemma faced by poorer countries who import inexpensive food from North America and Western Europe.


Setting the Grass Roots on Fire

- A Documentary Movie on 'Norman Borlaug & Africa's Green Revolution'; Directed by Tony Freeth for Images First, UK. African Studies Association, 2000; 56 min. Video.

Watch the video at http://www.saa-tokyo.org/english/publica/

Order at http://www.images-first.com/stgf.html or http://www.filmakers.com/indivs/setting_grass.htm

"This is a new experience for me here south of the Sahara. But I see the same fire now beginning to burn in the grassroots -- I call this 'setting the grassroots on fire'. And it's heating up for the political decision-makers"

Dr. Norman Borlaug, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970, has spent his life battling against hunger and poverty in developing countries. With characteristic energy and a sense or urgency, he is setting the agenda for a "Green Revolution " in Sub-Saharan Africa as population increases overwhelm production.

Borlaug grew up on a small farm in Iowa during the Depression years and trained as an agricultural scientist. He developed a lifelong determination to use science for the benefit of subsistence farmers. The film charts his struggle against third world poverty, using footage shot in Africa and Mexico over the last thirty years. In Mexico after World War II Borlaug designed a simple approach for intensifying traditional agriculture that had dramatic results. It saved India and Pakistan from a repetition of the dreadful famine of the 1960's.

Often embroiled in politics in his determination to put agriculture at the top of the agenda, he has also crossed swords with some environmentalists, who he felt had little understanding of life in developing countries. His faith as always been in small -scale farmers who are "setting the grassroots on fire."


Norman Borlaug Cites Importance of Plant
Biotechnology in Fighting World Hunger

American Society of Plant Biology
October 31, 2002

See the video of the talk at


Norman Borlaug - The Peaceful Revolutionary

(Wonderful commentary on Borlaug's early life, education at Univ of Minnesota, his work in Mexico, his impact on the world, and political aspects of green revolution)


Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize laureate who is credited by many for saving more lives than any other scientist, received his Master's and his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from our College. Borlaug played a major role in the Green Revolution that increased food self sufficiency in many countries.

Links to following articles are found here:

Borlaug's Work in Mexico

The Beginning of the Green Revolution

Political Aspects of the Green Revolution

The Nobel Prize and More Honors


Conversation with Borlaug: The Paula Gordon Show

Listen to the conversation at http://www.paulagordon.com/shows/borlaug/

Norman Borlaug's life is a tribute to what one person can do in the face of enormous obstacles: he has saved more lives than anyone in history. He has done it in the face of world wars, civil wars, famines, riots and bureaucratic obduracy. Norman Borlaug is the Father of the Green Revolution. In 1970, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. Now in his mid-80's, Dr. Borlaug is still fiercely committed to the fundamental importance of feeding the world's people. ?He believes the ability to feed "the population monster" is central to civilization's survival. Human progress itself is at stake.

In case you've forgotten, the Green Revolution made it possible to feed millions of people in India and Pakistan in the 1960's, people who otherwise would have starved to death. Grain yields were increased six fold. But the Green Revolution was about much more than just developing new seeds. Farmers had to learn how to plant those new seeds, how to fertilize the land, how to control the weeds and how to irrigate. Dr. Borlaug placed his bets on small farmers and won.

Even as a Midwestern farm boy in the Depression, Norman Borlaug hated the site of human misery. That hasn't changed, though he's now seen enough misery world-wide to fill many lifetimes. He shares his sense of urgency when he talks about today's human misery and that which he anticipates if we cannot feed people. For starters, he's certain misery will not stay at home. You can't build peace on empty stomachs, he cautions. He's equally confident that if there is an "explosion" as he fears, not only will desperate people find their way across oceans and deserts, there will also be opportunists fishing in troubled waters.

As the human population redoubles and available arable land decreases, environmentally sound uses of the land are increasingly urgent, Dr. Borlaug warns. To produce 1996's harvest with 1965's technology would have required three times more land. Biodiversity, he argues, is preserved when technology improves yields in existing arable lands, reducing the perceived need for slash and burn farming.

Dr. Borlaug is now hard at work with farmers in Africa, alongside former President Jimmie Carter, working with The Carter Center's Global 2000 program. There are staggering obstacles: "donor fatigue," inadequate or non-existent infrastructure, bureaucratic obstacles and the political legacies including colonialism and most recently, the Cold War -- money sorely need for education, health and transport went instead to military ends. So he continues to work.

From Mexico in the 1940's to Africa today, we have much to learn from Norman Borlaug's perseverence. How does Dr. Borlaug see himself? "I was only a catalyst." Let's hear it for catalysts.


Norman Borlaug's Song

- Eddie Kohler

(Sung to the Tune of Miss Susie Had a Steamboat)

My name is Norman Borlaug,
I bred a better wheat!
And if you dare attack me
You will go down to defeat
In Minnesota!
And even Idaho!

The farmers praise my crazy maize
And grow it row by row!
I have to go now!
The Third World's farmland calls!

So sing "Yippee, agronomy"
As if you've got the balls!



- Michael Carey, carey@heartland.net

"No," he said.
"I won't do that."

Some say he was
honest and true,

some say focused,
some say he was simply

Norwegian and stubborn.
He'd have to be

to do what he did,
to talk to plants

for years on end
until they listened,

to talk to politicians
until they too heard,

and students and farmers.
He alone, it seemed

knew how beautiful
mud is, how in dirt

there is peace,
and that nothing

soothes the aching belly
like food.


From: 'Preliminary Poems Concerning Norman Borlaug, His Family and the Borlaug Boyhood Home

See more poetry on Borlaug from Michael Carey at http://www.normanborlaug.org/docs/68yqjpsj_.doc


Happy Birthday Dr. Borlaug!

- From Andrew Apel on Borlaug's 90th Birthday - March 25, 2004

Dear Dr. Borlaug:

Each birthday is a special day.
You let us live to see them.
We lived and then had children,
and you let us feed them.
That makes your birthday special,
because your birthday now belongs to all of us,
to ourselves, our children, and theirs yet to come.

With heartfelt regards,
One Billion Humans.


Watch the Video of Norman Borlaug Nobel Speech at



View or Buy the Painting of Norman Borlaug's Boyhood Home


Borlaug Photos Borlaug Links Quotes on Borlaug The Borlaug Rap