In a global effort to feed humanity, it was one man’s scientific intellect that sowed the seeds. On Monday, Alltech, a global leader in animal health and nutrition, posthumously awarded the Father of the Green Revolution, the late Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, with the 23rd annual Alltech 2014 Medal of Excellence for saving more than one billion people from starvation and paving the path to feeding more than 9 billion by 2050. Approximately three months after what would have been his 100th birthday, Borlaug’s granddaughter, Dr. Julie Borlaug Larson, accepted the award on his behalf during the opening session at Alltech’s 30th Annual Alltech International Symposium, "What If?" in Lexington, Kentucky, USA.
Borlaug Larson, who is the associate director for external relations at the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University is continuing her grandfather’s legacy by developing agricultural partnerships between public, private and philanthropic groups to raise funds and further efforts to support agricultural sustainability.
The Alltech Medal of Excellence is awarded each year during the opening session of Alltech’s International Symposium to individuals whose remarkable business acumen has changed the global food industry. A video presented during the session featured Borlaug in the late stages of his life, speaking of solving the world’s hunger epidemic, "We’re going to need you to be ready... not with guns and daggers, but with science and technology."
Through an agricultural research position in Mexico, Borlaug developed semi-dwarf, high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties, and during the mid-20th century, introduced these high-yielding varieties, combined with modern agricultural production techniques, to Mexico, Pakistan and India. As a result, Mexico became a net exporter of wheat by 1963. Between 1965 and 1970, wheat yields nearly doubled in Pakistan and India, greatly improving food security in those nations. Later, Borlaug helped apply these methods of increasing food production to Asia and Africa, ultimately helping to end much starvation around the world. His techniques and practices set the stage for scientists to determine the best way to feed the growing world population of greater than 9 billion by 2050. Borlaug is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal and the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to increasing world peace through food security. He died in 2009 at the age of 95.
During the opening session, Alltech also recognized the tenacity and philanthropy of Lopez Lomong, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan turned two-time Olympian runner, inspirational speaker and author of The New York Times best-selling autobiography Running for My Life, with the 2014 Alltech Humanitarian Award. Dr. Pearse Lyons of Alltech presented the award and said, "The purpose of life is a life of purpose. This award goes to a man who never let regrets take the place of his dreams. Today, we award his endeavor, his passion and his incredible accomplishments."