Celebrating the past while focusing on the future. With the theme of 365 sunrises and 7 billion mouths to feed, that’s what this year’s National Ag Day was all about.
"But Ag Day is really every day for America’s farmers and ranchers. They wake up every day making sure what they’ve sewn can feed, and clothe this great country of ours," said Tres Bailey, director of Food and Agriculture for WalMart Federal Government Relations.
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One man who focused on feeding the hungry was the Father of the Green Revolution, Dr. Norman Borlaug. He would have celebrated his 100th birthday on National Ag Day this year. But that didn’t stop members of Congress, senators and Iowa state legislators from paying tribute to a man who did so much for agriculture.
Surrounded by other dignitaries in the Statuary Hall of the Nation’s Capitol, a 10-foot statue of Borlaug was unveiled.
"It is about illuminating, and honoring and using the work of Dr. Norman Borlaug to inspire the work of so many others," said Iowa congressman Steve King.
"Here’s a guy who came from small town Iowa. I think that represents what can be accomplished with someone like that," said Iowa congressman Dave Loebsack.
The sculptor, Benajim Victor, didn’t grow up in agriculture, but he studied Borlaug to make sure every bronze detail painted the accurate story of what Borlaug contributed to all of society.
"I figured that the wheat had to be involved. I mean that’s the central element of his life. So, you’ve got the wheat behind him, and he’s intensely in study. And he’s got optimism in his face, as well," Victor said.
He says the winds of change are also sculpted, giving incredible detail to a man who is claimed to have paved a path for plant breeding’s significant advancements today.
"And that’s what he was doing. I mean he was putting best science that there was at that moment to really increase the food supply of the world," said Alejandro Munoz, Vice President, Global Business, DuPont Pioneer.
Speaker after speaker during Ag Day talked about Borlaug’s passion for feeding the world, a challenge that still faces agriculture today.