The Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service Award


Dr. Norman E. Borlaug
Nobel Prize-winning Agricultural Researcher

Norman E. Borlaug

Dr. Norman E. Borlaug

Dr. Norman Ernest Borlaug joined the Rockefeller Foundation staff in Mexico in 1944 to increase the production and productivity of Mexican wheats. This Iowa native continued as Director of the National Wheat Program in Mexico until the research center, Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de maiz y Trigo (CIMMYT), was formed in 1965. He continued as Director of Wheat Programs in CIMMYT until he retired in 1979.

Dr. Borlaug devoted his energies to improvement of wheat for more than 30 years. He contributed more than any other person to the so-called "Green Revolution." This revolution made it possible to improve living conditions for hundreds of millions of people living in the developing countries.

This eminent researcher is a man of ideals, and man of action. His writings reflect not only a fight against rust and weeds, but a strong outcry against bureaucracy and paperwork which interfere with rapid action. By his own admission, he is an impatient man and he does not readily accept the slow changes in the developing world. Yields of crops must increase rapidly, and he realizes that there is no time to waste, considering the magnitude of the problem of feeding the world's population.

He has been honored by numerous institutions in the United States, Pakistan, India, Norway, Canada and many other countries. He serves on many boards and advises governments in the developing world on food production.

Dr. Borlaug's highest honor, the Nobel Prize for Peace, was awarded to him 1970. It is significant that when the award was announced, he could not be reached by telephone. Messengers were sent to the wheat field, where he was found seated on a three-legged stool-making wheat crosses.

Year of Award: 1984