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Jeff_a_Caldwell
Senior Contributor

Borlaug Dialogue: Why is it important?

Pretty busy week here in Des Moines -- the World Food Prize will be awarded here later this week, and it's the culmination of a week of sessions with world leaders and the scientific community surrounding food, hunger and food security around the world. It's quite an event, one that we're lucky to have here.

 

Personally, I think it's great to celebrate the work of Norman Borlaug. I never got to meet the man when he was alive, but I guess I consider him one of my idols. He worked hard, persisted when others said he couldn't do the job, and his efforts have saved over a billion lives around the world. Not bad!

 

There's a lot of hooplah surrounding this week's events, and they deserve it. But, besides all the fanfare and ceremony, what makes something like the Borlaug Dialogue so important to you, as a farmer? When you think about your role in helping provide food for the planet, what's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the World Food Prize and the events surrounding it?

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13 Replies
Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Re: Borlaug Dialogue: Why is it important?

I wondcer what Borlaug would have said about Howard Buffett's anti-technology stance?  I thought Borlaug used technology to increase yields and decrease hunger?

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hardnox604008
Advisor

Re: Borlaug Dialogue: Why is it important?

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-technology/buffett-new-approach-needed-on-hunger-in-africa-2011...

 

I don't know what else Buffett has said or been quoted on but the above peice seems perfectly reasonable.

 

Monsanto and Du Pont must be pretty touchy these days.

 

 

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nwobcw
Advisor

Re: Borlaug Dialogue: Why is it important?

   The report says they don't know how to plant?  That statement seems ludicrous.  Sure there are different soil types; there and all over the world.  What's new about that?  I tailor seed varieties to soil types.  Don't most farmers?  I even tailor crops to soil types.  1 farm I have grows good wheat, hay and beans but a mediocre corn crop.  It doesn't take long to figure things like that out.

   After initially having bad feelings toward Mother M I now laud her as we are growing crops on a regular basis we only dreamed of 7 or 8 years ago.  I just wish it didn't take so long for the insurance guarantee to catch up.

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hardnox604008
Advisor

Re: Borlaug Dialogue: Why is it important?

Have you been able to get base genetics of any of those hybrids to run against traits?

 

My experience is that where they are avaliable they'll yield right with the GMOs.

 

Monsant o is primarily reponsible for obesity in farmers becasue they just don't have to get out of the truck and walk their fields.

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nwobcw
Advisor

Re: Borlaug Dialogue: Why is it important?

   Grain farmers have always been fatter then livestockers.

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wt510151
Senior Contributor

Re: Borlaug Dialogue: Why is it important?

He also mentioned human population controls helping reduce hunger. Many experts forget that part of his quote. Memory can be very selective based on what one one wants to tout.

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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Borlaug Dialogue: Why is it important?

Spoiler
 

Yes, but we hog farmers tend to walk funny.  If you have ever sorted/loaded tops, you know why!

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smokeyjay
Advisor

Re: Borlaug Dialogue: Why is it important?

Did you notice how everybody evaded the question?

 

Borlaug proved to the entire world that practical science based tecnology and a focused effort would produce results.  He not only did that, but as you mentioned, saved many lives in the process.  His genetic work with improving rice increased folic acid, as well as yields, reducing health related problems for the people that depended on rice as a staple food source. 

 

Though I do not have a direct connection to Borlaug regarding research, I have always been motivated to seek better ways to do things better.  Before the turn of the century, discussion with fellow producers in my state was the beginning of a journey that ultimately culminated in the creation of a producer dominated genetics research company, less than three years ago.  We are up and running.

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gregs3821958
Veteran Contributor

Re: Borlaug Dialogue: Why is it important?

I  think  the event Jeff writes about is very worthwhile and does allow for a diversity of perspectives.  Borlaug deserves much acclaim for his life and work and  justifiably received a Nobel prize, but there are some fair criticisms of  him.

 

One is that he continued to support the application and use of DDT up to the time of his death. Paul Muller, who discovered DDT, also received a Nobel prize for that activity, but for good reason DDT is much less than acceptable today. Borlaug also continued to ridicule the natural and organic foods movement - a position which will play out more factually in the future.   

 

Yes, Borlaug's Green Revolution has helped feed millions. But basically he was influenced by the Depression Era "Technocracy Movement'. Remnants are still around, but that movement hasn't fared too well over time.  Given the evolution of ideas  and facts, it may to early to canonize him into sainthood, yet.

 

 

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