September 14, 2009

Acclaimed Ag Scientist Passes Away At Age 95

Norman Borlaug, the U.S. agricultural scientist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for creating high-yielding crops to fight severe famine around the world, has passed away at age 95, Texas A&M University announced.

Borlaug, called an important figure in the "green revolution," died on Saturday evening after a prolonged battle with cancer, the university wrote in a statement.

The "green revolution" is hailed as aiding famines that had been plaguing the developing world.

"Norman E. Borlaug saved more lives than any man in human history," Josette Sheeran, the head of the World Food Program, said to AFP on Sunday.

"His total devotion to ending famine and hunger revolutionized food security for millions of people and for many nations."

Borlaug was a professor of international agriculture at Texas A&M University, in College Station, Texas.

Experts think that his work in creating high-yielding crops saved millions of individuals worldwide who might have starved. He won the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. And in 2007, he also was given the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor in the US.

"We all eat at least three times a day in privileged nations, and yet we take food for granted," Borlaug said in a recent interview. "There has been great progress, and food is more equitably distributed. But hunger is commonplace, and famine appears all too often."

In 1944, he was hired as a geneticist and plant pathologist, whose job was to organize and lead the Cooperative Wheat Research and Production Program in Mexico.

This project paid attention to genetic research and plant breeding. In only two decades, Borlaug discovered his high-yielding disease-resistant wheat.

"It is the hope of the Borlaug family that his life be an example to all. We would like his life be a model for making a difference in the lives of others and to bring about efforts to end human misery for all mankind," his children wrote in a statement.


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