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Role Models

There are many individuals in the seed and agriculture industries whose career success serves as an inspiration. Here is the story of one man whose ideas changed the world.

Norman Borlaug is an American agronomist and plant breeder who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work to end hunger in India and Pakistan-the only agricultural scientist ever to receive the prize. His high-yielding cereals increased agricultural production in developing countries to the extent that many became self-sufficient for grain.

Borlaug, who was born in Cresco, Iowa, studied forestry as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, from which he graduated in 1937; he received his doctorate in plant pathology in 1942. From 1942 to 1944, he was a microbiologist on the staff of the duPont de Nemours Foundation. In 1944, he accepted an appointment as geneticist and plant pathologist assigned the task of organizing and directing the Cooperative Wheat Research and Production Program in Mexico. This program, a joint undertaking by the Mexican government and the Rockefeller Foundation, involved scientific research in genetics, plant breeding, plant pathology, entomology, agronomy, soil science, and cereal technology. Within 20 years, he was spectacularly successful in finding a high-yielding short-strawed, disease-resistant wheat.

In 2007, Dr. Borlaug was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the United States' highest civilian honor. In addition, he has received extensive recognition from universities and organizations in Canada, India, Mexico, Norway, Pakistan, and the U.S. In 1968, the people of Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico, in whose towns he did some of his first experimenting, named a street in his honor.

For examples of other successful careers download our Career Profiles.