March 16, 2009 - The Des Moines Register asked Iowa leaders to provide recommendations for how the state, in the midst of the current recession, can pursue "an outsized opportunity, a destiny-changing initiative that ... would be out of reach in ordinary times."
Dr. Norman Borlaug, Iowa native and founder of the World Food Prize, provided the following:
By Norman E. Borlaug, World Food Prize Founder
Originally Published by The Des Moines Register, May 15, 2009
For two centuries, Iowa has been the epicenter of expanded agricultural production and technology - progress that has always been linked to innovation and infrastructure. The advent of the steel plow in 1837 allowed pioneers to break the prairie sod and made Iowa one of the most productive areas in the United States. Soon thereafter, new railroads brought Iowa's crops to cities.
In the 1930s, new technologies, such as hybrid corn, and farming techniques spread across the state on newly built rural roads. After World War II, proliferation of agricultural research at Iowa's great educational institutions, particularly Iowa State University, allowed the United States to lead the single greatest period in food production and hunger reduction in human history, which I witnessed in Mexico, India, Pakistan and China.
The challenge now is to complete the job of bringing an environmentally sustainable agricultural revolution to Africa and South Asia, where hunger and malnutrition still afflict 1 billion people. Building infrastructure and supporting agricultural innovation will stimulate Iowa's economy, ensuring our continued leadership in global food production.
I urge a greater Iowa Global Initiative: 1) Significant increases in federal and state funding for agricultural research at public and private institutions. 2) Expanded, sustained funding for federal and state exchange programs that bring scientists and students to Iowa and send Iowans abroad. 3) Investment in the most important 21st-century infrastructure - information technology to allow Iowa's breakthrough scientific achievements to be shared with farmers and producers in the poorest countries on Earth.
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More on Dr. Borlaug:
Iowa Senate votes 50-0 to place Borlaug statue in US Capitol (February 25, 2010)
World Food Prize dedicates $29.8 million Hall of Laureates in honor of Norman Borlaug (October 14, 2009)
Norman Borlaug discusses famine's persistence with WSJ in one of his final interviews (September 22, 2009)
Tributes to Norman Borlaug from around the world (September 13, 2009)
World Food Prize Founder and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug dies at age 95 (September 12, 2009)
Iowa Senators introduce legislation to declare Borlaug home a National Historic Site (August 4, 2009)
Borlaug in Wall Street Journal: Farmers Can Feed the World (July 30, 2009)
Borlaug/Lugar: A new green revolution (April 5, 2009)
Borlaug: Start initiative to feed hungry worldwide (March 16, 2009)
Dr. Borlaug to celebrate 95th birthday (March 4, 2009)
Borlaug Honored with butter sculpture at Iowa State Fair (August 6, 2008)
President Bush, others present Dr. Borlaug with Congressional Gold Medal (July 18, 2007)
Dr. Borlaug to receive Congressional Gold Medal (December 6, 2006)
U.S. Senate votes to honor Borlaug with Congressional Gold Medal (September 28, 2006)
Penn, minus Teller, interviews Borlaug (August 15, 2006)
Norman Borlaug returns home to statehouse honors (March 16, 2006)
Dr. Norman Borlaug recieves National Medal of Science (February 14, 2006)
Dr. Norman E. Borlaug honored with Padma Vibhushan in India (January 25, 2006)
'Food for Thought' (published in the Wall Street Journal on October 14, 2005)
"My 60 Years of Fighting Hunger" a retrospective on the life of Dr. Norman Borlaug released from the First Annual Governor's Lecture (PDF file, October 25, 2004)
Dr. Norman Borlaug throws ceremonial first pitch at Boston's Fenway Park (June 9, 2004)