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Borlaug will be honored in D.C.

By Staff | Apr 8, 2011

Since the dawn of recorded history, human beings have chosen to memorialize people of extraordinary accomplishment by erecting statues as a tribute to their achievements. Stone has been shaped by talented sculptors into the likenesses of kings, emperors, generals, saints, lawmakers and others deemed by their contemporaries or by later generations to be particularly significant contributors to the human drama.

Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol is a place where each of the nation’s 50 states is permitted to honor two of its “notable citizens” by having their statues displayed. Most recently, Iowa has been represented in this august collection by Samuel Kirkwood, who was the Hawkeye State’s governor during the Civil War, and James Harlan, who was a U.S. senator from 1855 to 1865.

Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill late last month that authorized the replacement of one of these statues with one of Dr. Norman Borlaug.

That Iowa will be represented in Statuary Hall by one of the most consequential Iowans who ever lived is highly appropriate. Borlaug’s scientific accomplishments helped save people all over the planet from hunger and, perhaps, starvation.

“Dr. Borlaug’s legacy in feeding a billion people marks him as one of Iowa’s and America’s greatest heroes,” Branstad said, reflecting on the significance of a Nobel Peace Prize winner who grew up in Cresco. “Having his statue in our nation’s capital will ensure that his legacy endures.”

Borlaug developed a new type of wheat. He improved wheat’s resistance to disease, thereby, making it possible for farmers everywhere to up their yields of this vital food staple. He has been appropriately called the father of the “Green Revolution.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Latham, who represents Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, played a key role in the decision to award Borlaug a Congressional Gold Medal in 2007. He welcomed this new honor for Borlaug not only as a well-deserved acknowledgment of his achievements, but also as a challenge to future generations to learn from his example.

“It will … serve as an inspiration and reminder to the millions of people who visit the Capitol every year that one person’s vision can make an enormous difference for populations around the world,” Latham said.

Farm News shares that sentiment and applauds the inclusion of Dr. Borlaug’s statue in this place of honor.

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