Norman Borlaug

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Norman Ernest Borlaug (March 25, 1914–September 12, 2009) grew up in Cresco, Iowa, and is credited with being the "Father of the Green Revolution" due to his success in both breeding and distributing a new high yield varieties of wheat.

His major contribution started while working for the Cooperative Wheat Research and Production Program in Mexico, a collaboration between the Mexican government and the Rockefeller Foundation. The programs goals were to breed new wheat varieties that could be improve yields as well as being successful in new environments. The result of this work was to breed a high-yielding short-strawed, disease-resistant wheat that was enormously successful when grown in Mexico, India, and Pakistan. The increased yields led to this new wheat variety being used in Latin American countries, the Near and Middle East and several in Africa. As director of the International Wheat Improvement Program for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Borlaug has also been a leader in educating young scientists in areas of research that directly impact farm productivity.

As a result of Borlaug's work Mexico became a net exporter of wheat and yields in Pakistan and India almost doubled. It was this success, leading to food security in those countries and possibly saving millions from starvation that was labeled the Green Revolution. Borlaug has received the Nobel Peace Prize (1970) the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal as a result of his contributions to this revolution. In his later years, Borlaug became an advocate for the use of biotechnology - including genetically modified organisms - and plant breeding programs to fight world famine.