Texas A&M Remembers Man who Changed the World with Wheat

By: David Norris Email
By: David Norris Email

COLLEGE STATION, Texas On the day a man credited with saving millions of lives worldwide would have turned 100, officials in Washington dedicated a statue in his honor.

Dr. Norman Borlaug is widely regarded as America's greatest agricultural scientist, but it's a name many outside the agricultural industry don't recognize.

"His main accomplishments were in wheat," said Director of Texas A&M Agrilife Research, Craig Nessler.

Among his works, Borlaug developed a wheat that could hold more grain, and was resistant to diseases. Nessler said that design impacted millions of people.

"So when he went to countries like India, Mexico and Pakistan, they were food importers," said Nessler. "And by the time his work was finished, they were exporting food to other parts of the world."

For his contributions to the world food supply, Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Congressional Gold Medal, and several other prestigious awards.

"As you get older, the one thing you realize is that you have to make a difference. And he made a difference," said Nessler.

Dr. Borlaug started working at Texas A&M University in 1984, at the age of 70. He worked there until his death in 2009.

"Because he lived such a long life, he contributed a lot to this university during the time he was here," said Nessler.

Interim President of the Borlaug Institute at Texas A&M, Elsa Murano said she'll never forget the day she first met Borlaug in 1995.

"I was a professor in nutrition and food science, and I remember attending a lecture that he gave to our food science club," said Murano. "That began a friendship that lasted until he passed away."

Murano said she's honored to carry on Borlaug's legacy.

"It's coming around full circle for me, that I'm able to be given the platform to do this. And it's a fight that requires lots of workers," said Murano.

Nessler said Texas A&M wants to continue Borlaug's work to fight hunger around the world. Especially in Africa, where Borlaug said was one of the few places he wasn't able to reach.

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