The World Food Prize Foundation

Transcript: The State of Iowa Borlaug Statue Unveiling in the US Capitol

04/01/2014

The State of Iowa Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Statue Dedication Ceremony
March 25, 2014, 11 a.m., The U.S. Capitol, Statuary Hall
Full Transcript

[Prelude by Ms. Anne Michael Langguth]

The Honorable John Boehner, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives:

Good morning everyone. Let me thank all of you for being here today. You know, my buddy Tom Latham’s been telling me about this project for years. I know many people have been responsible for making this day possible from the delegation to the Governor's office to the statue committee and of course the Borlaug family. Iowans aren’t one for boasting but today you’ve got good reason to take a bow. Congratulations.  (Applause)

Every once in a while someone comes along who truly changes everything. Who fashions the extraordinary out of the ordinary. Who fills a whole that no one believed could be filled. Who makes us raise our eyes from the problem of the moment to look around the world. In Iowa there was such a man.

On October 20th, 1970, Margaret Borlaug woke up to a spring of calls from Oslo. It seemed her husband, Norman, had won the Nobel Peace Prize. So she reacts in a way anyone else would in that situation, “Well, I’m sorry he’s out in the field. Can I take a message?”

Finally Margaret realizes, “You know, I better go find him.” So she drives some 30 miles to the nursery where he’s working. She gets there and walks all the way to the other end of the field and tells him this life-altering news. He says, “No, no, that can’t be, Margaret. Somebody is pulling your leg.”

Listen, Norman Borlaug’s work fed the world and like all the greats, so did his character and his humanity. And now having embodied the finest qualities of his state, he’s called to represent all of that here in the United States Congress and here in the Capitol. Right here in the old house chamber where Lincoln once served. Where we voted to accept Iowa into the Union. He will stand, a great emancipator of our times, one who freed many from fear and from want. It will be my honor to accept this statue on behalf of the American people. And I for one, will think it’s awfully nice to have a miracle worker around here. Enjoy today’s program. (Applause)

[Presentation of the Colors by the U.S. Armed Forces Color Guard]

[Singing of the National Anthem by a U.S. Army Soloist]

[Retiring of the Colors by the U.S. Armed Forces Color Guard]

Invocation by the Chaplain of the United States Senate, Dr. Barry Black:

Eternal Spirit, giver of every good and perfect gift we thank you for the gift of a great Iowan, Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, who helped feed the world, and for this opportunity to place a statue in the U.S. Capitol in his honor. Lord, we praise for providing him with the intellect and dedication to bring a productive harvest from his research in genetics, plant breeding, plant pathology, entomology, agronomy and soil science, improving the lives of people in Latin America, India, Pakistan, and Africa, the Middle East, and around the world. May we learn from the well-lived life of this central figure in the Green Revolution that we, too, should strive to leave the world better than we found it. We pray, in your sovereign name. Amen.

The Honorable Bruce Braley, United States Representative, First District of Iowa:

Good morning. I’m proud to represent  Howard County, where Norman Borlaug was born 100 years ago today, and I want to welcome the Borlaug family and everyone here from Howard County to Norman Borlaug’s new home. 
I thought it would be appropriate to wear a green suit and tie today in honor of the Father of the Green Revolution. As the Speaker noted, Iowans are modest by nature. But very proud of their state and that’s why it’s fitting that DuPont Pioneer is one of the sponsors for this important statue. 

Because two Iowa dreamers are being reunited here today. One of them has a bust just down the hallway right outside the Senate chamber and in 1944 that person was elected Vice President of the United States: the founder of Pioneer seed company. And his first assignment was to go the inauguration of President Camacho  in Mexico. Henry Wallace set out for Mexico City in a green Plymouth with his wife and one other car, and drove nearly 2,000 miles as Vice President to attend the inauguration. After wowing the Mexican people by speaking to them in Spanish, Vice President Wallace toured Mexico for nearly a month and came up with an idea to establish the first agriculture research experimentation station outside the United States, in Mexico. One of the very first scientists to join that research station was a young man named Norman Borlaug. When Henry Wallace returned two years later in 1946 he was no longer Vice President but he was amazed to see that Borlaug’s corn was yielding 50 bushels more per acre than it had two years earlier. You can thank former Senator John Culver for that story.

As we leave here today, we need to remember that Norman Borlaug’s legacy will not be determined just by what he did during his brief time on Earth. It will be determined by what we do to together to expand his vision of stewardship toward this planet and the people who live on it. Somewhere in the world today a child will be born who could be the Norman Borlaug of the 21st century. Maybe that child will be born in China or India or Nigeria or Brazil or maybe, just maybe, the mother of the Green Revolution will be born in Howard County, Iowa. As Norman himself would remind us, “Our reward for our labors is not what we take from this planet, it’s what we give back.” So let’s get to work. (Applause)

The Honorable Tom Latham, United States Representative, Third District of Iowa:                      

What a great day it is for Iowa, for this country and for feeding people. To recognize somebody like Norman Borlaug. I want to thank everyone who made this day possible, all the leaders here. Boehner’s – ahem, the Speaker’s - always given me some kind of a shout out once in a while but let me just say that we would not have the Congressional Gold Medal for Norman Borlaug nor would this day be possible without the assistance of the Speaker and his support and his great staff. So thank you very much. (Applause) I’m trying to be nice to him—anyway. 

I don’t know how many of you are aware of my background but I grew up in the seed business, a family farm operation. Throughout my entire life I’ve seen people involved in plant breeding. Norman Borlaug was genius. He was someone who understood genetics and just as important was someone who understood the selection of varieties once he’d made the cross. Today, in the modern laboratories and seed labs we have all kinds of technology. When Norman Borlaug made his breakthroughs, it was all done with genius himself personally picking those varieties out of thousands and thousands to find the ones with the right characteristics that would actually improve the supply of wheat or whatever crop it was that he was working on. Absolutely genius.

But really the thing that made him extraordinarily successful was his passion, his focus of applying that breakthrough to get it out there so that people could actually reap the benefits of his discoveries. And that’s something that I think even to his last day… there’s a story of a researcher who came to him in his last few hours and he said he had a breakthrough. The thing that Norman said, his last words were, “Get it to the farmers. Make sure that it gets out there and that people can actually benefit from this breakthrough.”  

He didn’t do anything for fame or fortune.  It was all about feeding a hungry world and making sure that those children, no matter where they were, were not starving.  Let’s just remember on his birthday, 100 years today, what an incredible tribute to a great man, but really the tribute, the legacy of Norman Borlaug will be the thousands and thousands of people who are trying to replicate what he did and that’s to develop that next breakthrough. The people who have learned from him, his students, plant breeders everywhere in the world, and that is the real legacy of Norman Borlaug.

Thank you all for being here. This is a great day for Iowa. Thank you. (Applause)

The Honorable Tom Harkin, United States Senator, Iowa:

Speaker Boehner, Leader Reid, Leader Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Reynolds,  and I see our Attorney General Tom Miller is also here, and Secretary Vilsack, members of the Borlaug family, and distinguished guests. I also want to congratulate Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, who is the chair of the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Statue committee, as well as all of the other members of that committee for seeing this through. My congratulations also to Benjamin Victor, the sculptor, who created a perfect statue. Now I haven’t seen it yet, but I saw the picture in the paper this morning and it’s very, very good. As the Speaker says when he first spoke, you know, Iowans basically are pretty humble people. But we’re very, very proud of the long line of Iowans who have been extraordinary leaders in bringing food to a hungry world.

People like Herbert Hoover, Henry C. Wallace and Henry A. Wallace, and first and foremost, Dr. Norman Borlaug. When I think of Dr. Borlaug’s achievements, I’m reminded of those famous words in the Book of Proverbs: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” More than a half a century ago Dr. Borlaug surveyed a world where starvation and malnourishment were rampant, and he had a vision. A vision of a Green Revolution. I cherish the times I have visited with him in the past either in my office here or in Iowa, and he was always focused on food production and research. Always research. More research. But because of that vision and because of Dr. Borlaug’s tireless commitment to that vision, the people did not perish. 

Upwards of 1 billion lives have been saved across the world. His work was at the forefront of a 50-year period that has been described as the single greatest period of food production and hunger reduction in all of human history. Not bad for a farm boy from Cresco, Iowa. Not bad for a kid who began his education in a one-room schoolhouse. We see Dr. Norman Borlaug as a great scientist, a great agronomist, plant breeder and one of our nation’s greatest international humanitarians. He is all of those, but just as importantly, I see him as a great persuader. A man who time and again overcame political and cultural challenges in order to spread his revolution across Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and now Africa.

For Dr. Norman Borlaug, a great American and a true son of Iowa, this honor of a statue in Statuary Hall could not be more fitting and deserved. We thank him for his great service to humanity, and the world, indeed, also thanks him. (Applause)

The Honorable Charles Grassley, United States Senator, Iowa:

My colleagues in Congress, state and federal officials, honored guests, and of course the Borlaug family, thank you very much for honoring this great American. There are very few people of such stature who could warrant two ceremonies here in the United States Capitol. Just a few years ago we were presenting Dr. Borlaug with the Congressional Gold Medal. Now our home state has decided to honor this remarkable man with one of two statues in Statuary Hall. Dr. Borlaug may not be a name known in every kitchen in the United States but this man is one of the greatest humanitarians who has ever lived. He dedicated his life to the development of scientific breakthroughs, where it’s important, because everybody has to have food. His successes eased malnutrition and famine around the world. 

Dr. Borlaug, as we all know, grew up on a family farm in Northeast Iowa. His education came in that one-room schoolhouse of immigrant children like himself. [It] was there, where and his schoolmates learned the common threads between them. That common thread brought them, working together, to provide food for their families, and that was the most important: things that brought them together—not dividing them. This lesson would guide Dr. Borlaug for years to come. So Dr. Borlaug combined a brilliant vision, most importantly hard work, Iowa common sense and commitment. He spared many people around the world from the sharp hunger pains, and he did this more than any one of us could dream that one person could accomplish. It all started in that small Iowa farmhouse. As a farmer myself, I’ve seen firsthand how Dr. Borlaug’s innovations transformed agriculture. Remarkably, it’s not only impacted developing countries but his stamp could also be seen in every developed country. Now his legacy and pioneering work will be on display to educate and inspire millions of people who come here to visit the United States Capitol and the world will spread more rapidly. Dr. Borlaug will continue to inspire generations of scientists and farmers to innovate and lift those mired from poverty. Thank you. (Applause)

The Honorable Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture:

Mr. Speaker, Senator Reid and Senator McConnell, and Leader Pelosi, thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. I want to obviously acknowledge the Borlaug family who is here today as well as the World Food Prize family and Ken Quinn. Two very important components to today and we appreciate you being here. Certainly want to acknowledge the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, as well and my wife, Christie. 

You know, a lot has been said about Norman Borlaug the educator, the scientist, the farmer, the promoter, but for a Secretary of Agriculture, it really doesn’t get any better than today. Today is Agricultural Day. Today is the 100th birthday of Norman Borlaug, and today we unveil this wonderful statue to a man who deserves extraordinary acknowledgement. But I think if Norm were here today he would want someone else to be acknowledged as well, because Norm didn’t do this by himself. As great as he was, as visionary as he was, he needed partners. And those partners were the farmers of the United States and of other countries. Norm understood that they had to be convinced that a better and brighter day was ahead and he worked tirelessly with those partners to create that opportunity.

It made me think of a quote that my son, Doug, recently gave me, from a young man in France who was a philosopher. He once wrote, “You cannot stay on the summit forever. You have to come down again, so why bother in the first place? Just this—what is above knows what is below. But what is below does not know what is above. One climbs and one sees, one descends one sees no longer, but one has seen.”

Norman Borlaug climbed the summit and for most people that would’ve been enough. Extraordinary achievements. But Norm felt the responsibility to make sure that those below saw the same vision he saw of a world without hunger. Of a world with peace. So it is extraordinarily fitting on this agricultural day, on the 100th birthday of this great man, that we are here today. And I think the challenge as this statue is unveiled is for every single one of us to pick up the challenge, to climb the summit, and to make sure that those below see the same vision of a peaceful, well-fed world. Then, we will have truly honored this great man. Thank you. (Applause). 

[Musical Selection: Mr. Simon Estes, International Opera Singer from Iowa, sings God Bless America and Climb Every Mountain]

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader of the United States House of Representatives:

Good morning, everyone. God bless America. God truly blessed America with the life and leadership of Dr. Norman Borlaug. When we were all together and he received the Congressional Gold Medal, we were charmed by him, impressed by his modesty - though he had climbed the summit, the mountain, and taught us so much. And that day, he seemed surprised that he was getting the Gold Medal, he who had received the Nobel Prize and would receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But I don’t think he would have ever expected that in a few years – a few short years – we would be gathered at Statuary Hall singing the Iowa Corn Song. That might have surprised him. 

Dr. Norman Borlaug, he was a man who saved millions – a billion lives. A billion lives. That’s a thousand million lives. The Father of the Green Revolution, the brilliant son of Howard County, Iowa, whose 100th birthday we mark today. It’s an honor to be here with all of you – the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of Agriculture, our colleagues in the House and Senate. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for making this possible. Dr. Norman Borlaug - especially the family.

He was a self-described hunger fighter who embraced the power of science to alleviate human suffering. Who inspired us with this call to feed the hungry, to eliminate poverty, and to deliver hope to all. That call rested at the center of his touching remarks in the Capitol Rotunda when he received the Congressional Gold Medal. At that time, 93 years young, he spoke of the distance travelled in the fight against hunger and the distance still to go. Those of us who were privileged to be here for that ceremony remember his inspiring words. He reminded us of the time in the 1960s when “the world said nothing can be done” and how, with his leadership and innovation, something extraordinary and miraculous was done. He shared his story and his experience, a way of imploring us to never accept the unacceptable status quo, to never allow countries or communities to go hungry when it is in our power to prevent it. 

Dr. Borlaug had seen tens of millions of people in Mexico, Pakistan, India, and elsewhere in need of food. By his innovations, he empowered farmers to feed nations so that millions could eat and therefore survive. He used the timeless resources of one farmer and one field to feed more people than ever. In this way, he reflected the parable of the loaves and fishes – a miracle not only about the increase of food, but in the increased sharing of food. Well into his 90s, Dr. Borlaug still recognized the urgent need to act, lending his voice and his vision, his ideas and his idealism, to the project of feeding the hungry whether in the United States or in Sub-Saharan Africa. Today the echoes of his call still linger and the need to utilize science to combat the challenges that persist: hunger and disease, poverty and food insecurity, the threat of climate change and its impact on food availability, and the fury of despair worldwide that hunger can bring on. 

In a statement submitted to the Congressional Record on the occasion of receiving the Gold Medal, Dr. Borlaug wrote that “World peace will not be built on empty stomachs or human misery.” In this respect he echoed the words of Pope Paul VI who said, “If you want peace, work for justice.” Few in history did more to fill the empty stomachs, to end the misery, to cherish and advance justice and world peace than Norman Borlaug. He was a visionary who saw hunger and acted to end it. Who saw suffering and acted to stop it. Who saw the need for justice and acted to cultivate it. More than others, he heeded the biblical call to feed the hungry.
We thank the State of Iowa for this statue of Dr. Norman Borlaug. Thank you, Honorable Mr. Quinn, for your leadership. May it long stand as a tribute to your great state and as an inspiration to all who yearn for peace and strive for justice. We all agreed when Dr. Borlaug received the Congressional Gold Medal, that his very accepting it brought luster to that medal. His very presence, the very presence of this statue in the Capitol, brings honor to us all and to our country. Thank you. (Applause)

The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Republican Leader of the United States Senate:

Over the past century, our world has been transformed by breathtaking advances in science and technology. And what’s so interesting about many of them is they all started out, many of them, very small. Some with an atom, others with a microchip, and in what some have described as the most significant technological revolution of all, with a grain of wheat. 

Norman Borlaug couldn’t have known he’d save a billion lives when he decided to pursue a PhD in plant pathology. But when this Iowa farm boy happened to attend a lecture on science’s potential for eradicating hunger, he was intrigued. So he dropped a previous career plan in order to test the theory, and the world would never be the same. Today, we all know why. Rapid agricultural self-sufficiency in nations that previously imported much of what they ate, warring societies confronting and overcoming famine together, and more than doubling of global grain output in just over 30 years while using basically the same amount of land. These are what many acknowledge as Norman Borlaug’s greatest legacies, but they’re not his only legacies. 

Borlaug didn’t stop when he won the Nobel Prize in 1970. He kept on innovating. He kept on saving lives. As one of his colleagues noted, Dr. Borlaug kept a rigorous travel schedule right into his 90s. He was determined to push ahead with projects in Africa and to advocate for further technological advances that could improve global food security almost right up until the time he finally left a planet he did so much to improve. Today, we live (in) a very different world from the one that Norman Borlaug was born into. It’s a world with less preventable misery, less hunger, and more hope for the hungry. What a legacy. What a legacy, this humble farmer from Iowa, this unlikeliest of revolutionaries, this man who changed the planet with a grain of wheat. Thank you. (Applause)

The Honorable Harry Reid, Democratic Leader of the United States Senate:

On the way over here I was informed that the sculptor is a man by the name of Benjamin Victor. I was so happy to learn that because I got to see him up really close. Nevada just a few years ago put up their second statue as we’re doing here - each state gets two – and the statue he did for Nevada is stunningly important for the state but absolutely artistically perfect. They have a contest for all these things, as to what sculptor is going to win the award and do this statue, and the one where they were competing to see what would happen in Nevada, when his was brought out, his preliminary picture, it took people’s breaths away, it is wonderful. It was of Sarah Winnemucca, a Native American, an Indian, from Nevada who really changed Nevada and the country with her advocacy. It is so stunningly good, I am so anxious to see this one. This woman’s skirt is, you can see it blowing in the wind, it is really terrific. And I look at the program here, Benjamin Victor is not to be recognized, at least on the program. Benjamin, where are you? (Applause) He’s gotten quite old since the one for Nevada, he’s 34 now. He is the youngest presenter ever of a sculpture in our great Capitol. So Benjamin, congratulations, I look forward to seeing your statue. If it’s half as good as the one in Nevada it will be one of the best here.

There’s an old 19th-century hymn with the lyrics, “Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need?” In the case of Dr. Borlaug, the answer to that question is an unequivocal yes. Shaped by what he experienced as a young man in the depths of the great depression and later in the famines he witnessed abroad, Borlaug spent his days trying to better the world and as we’ve already learned today, he really did that. ”You can’t build a peaceful world on empty stomachs and human misery,” he once wisely said. But it wasn’t about what Dr. Borlaug said, it’s about what he did. Throughout his life he worked tirelessly in the classroom, in the laboratory, and even on his hands and knees in the dirt most of the time, to help create a better world. A self-described “working scientist,” Dr. Borlaug wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty in order to find solutions to world problems. On the very day, as we’ve already learned, when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, he was literally in the dirt and he wanted to stay there until his day was finished, and then he went home and celebrated with his wife. Dr. Norman Borlaug stands as an inspiration for me as he does for anyone that knows anything about him. It’s an honor to be here today for the dedication of his statue. From his humble roots in Iowa, he went on to change the world. Through his life’s work in agriculture he is justly credited with saving more - as we’ve heard time and time again as we should hear time and time again - more than one billion lives. So I’m glad to be here for a lot of different reasons, but one is to hear this corny song from Iowa.

The Honorable John Boehner, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives:

I want to thank Secretary Vilsack for being here and my colleagues who are here and thank them for their remarks. It’s now time to unveil the statue, so in addition to the leaders, I want to welcome our special guests, Dr. Borlaug’s daughter, Jeanie, and his son, Bill, if they’ll come up and join us for the unveiling of the statue.

[Unveiling of the Statue and Singing of the Iowa Corn Song by Mr. Simon Estes]

The Honorable Kenneth Quinn, Chairman of the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Statue Committee:

You know, all along this journey for this statue, there have been all sorts of pitfalls and worries and “Would we make it on time?” but the most nervous I was, was with that rope up there thinking the statue’s going to fall over when it’s pulled, so thank goodness and I hope, Senator, you loved the Corn Song. Ben Victor, Ben, what a job you did. You know, we’re from Iowa so we don’t think it’s better than Sarah Winnemucca, we think it’s just as good. Didn’t Ben do a great job? And thank you Secretary Vilsack for introducing us to Ben.

I loved Norm. He and I worked together for 10 years to build the World Food Prize that he created to be what he hoped it would become – the Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture. What I found was that he was the most humble, hardworking, and inspirational person I ever met. And he stood in this spot on July 17th, 2007, after he got the Congressional Gold Medal, stood there, and that’s where the idea of the statue, when it was born, as we toasted him. And here he is, in the most hallowed place of our democracy, a monument to his achievements, to our country’s great achievements, and as the inspiration to all the future generations as they confront the single greatest challenge in human history: whether we can feed the 9 billion people who will be on our planet in 2050. 
There are a lot of people to thank being here. Thanks to the leadership for making that Gold Medal possible, for having his statue here, to the Iowa Congressional Delegation for their marvelous bipartisan support all along the way, to the Iowa State Legislature – and we have legislators here today with us. I just hope the Speaker of the Iowa House, Craig Paulsen, and the Majority Leader of the Iowa Senate, Mike Gronstal, are watching the webcast, because it was their coming together to pass the resolution. And then, to our Governor and Lieutenant Governor for their critical leadership because we wouldn't be here today without them and what they did three years ago, in March, on the 97th anniversary of Dr. Borlaug’s birth. And that’s why it is my incomparable privilege to introduce to you the Governor of Iowa, the Honorable Terry E. Branstad.

The Honorable Terry Branstad, Governor of Iowa:

Thank you, Ambassador Quinn, to Mr. Speaker and leaders from the Congress and our Congressional Delegation, and all of you people. First of all, I think this is a great day. It’s a great day for Iowa but it’s a great day for America. Norman Borlaug has brought together the leaders of this country – Democrat and Republican – working together to recognize and honor a great man that made a real difference.

After many distinguished speakers, it’s normally very difficult to add further acclaim to almost any individual, but Dr. Norman E. Borlaug was no ordinary man. It is an honor for Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and I to help commemorate Dr. Borlaug on the 100th anniversary of his birth and it is particularly fitting that this celebration falls on National Agriculture Day. 

And you know, from Cresco, the coldest area in Iowa, it snowed here in Washington D.C. today, so I think it’s very fitting. Similar to Senator Grassley and Congressman Latham and me, Dr. Borlaug was raised on a farm in northern Iowa. His farm roots taught him about hard work and humility. Dr. Borlaug and I also share a Norwegian heritage, which, as Norwegians can attest, helped nurture his unassuming nature and provided a solid foundation for him to dream big. Dr. Borlaug was also a high school and college wrestler and credited wrestling as a key – which is a very important sport in Iowa - it provided him with the intensity and the toughness that helped him to accomplish all these great things. 

The statue of Dr. Borlaug replaces the likeness of another great Iowan, Senator James Harlan. As one honored Iowan enters our nation’s Capitol, another, who was a dear friend of Abraham Lincoln, heads home to the heartland to his hometown of Mount Pleasant. Dr. Borlaug now joins the statue of Governor Samuel Kirkwood, a leader credited with securing more soldiers per capita for the Union effort than any other state during the civil war. Today’s celebration allows us the opportunity to honor all three of these Iowans and to especially share the remarkable story of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug. 

Dr. Borlaug is a fitting representative of the State of Iowa. Our agricultural heritage has blossomed into a thriving bioscience industry which leverages the research of Iowa State University, our land-grant institution. Iowa was proud to be the very first state to accept the provisions of the Morrill Act over 150 years ago. Pioneering companies and productive, hardworking farmers have enabled Iowa to lead the nation in the production of corn, soybeans, pork, eggs, ethanol, and biodiesel. Innovative Iowa companies are making a difference, from feeding a growing world population to reducing our nation’s dependency on foreign oil. 

Dr. Borlaug’s accomplishments are especially inspiring for Iowa’s young people as they pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, math, and in agricultural fields. We do have a record enrollment in agriculture at Iowa State. Dr. Borlaug was an innovator who put science into the hands of those that needed it most, all around the world. His statue inspires those who continue to sow the land and those making technology advances in agriculture and biosciences. 

He was a son, a brother, a father, a grandfather, and a cousin, whose legacy continues to make his family proud, and we are glad to honor his family with this celebration. Dr. Borlaug was a farmer, a humanitarian, a scientist, and an educator, and his inspiration lives on in many organizations like the World Food Prize that honor those who feed a growing world population. 

Iowans are proud to have Dr. Borlaug represent them as he embodied so many of the characteristics that Iowans cherish, like hard work, compassion, and service to others. On behalf of my fellow Iowans, we now commend Dr. Borlaug’s statue to the care of our nation’s leaders. We hope his legacy will inspire future generations of Americans and that his humble spirit will long be remembered. May God bless the State of Iowa and the United States of America.

Benediction by the Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives, Reverend Patrick Conroy:

Let us pray. God of the universe, we give you thanks for the gift of life and for the many blessings that life brings. Today, we gather in this hallowed temple to human freedom and integrity to honor Norman Ernest Borlaug. A pioneer of creative thought in biology and agriculture, Dr. Borlaug responded to a real world challenge to provide food for an ever-expanding world population, and is credited with giving rise to the Green Revolution. 

In the decades of the middle of the 20th century, his research led to the development of high-yield wheat which was credited with feeding millions in Mexico, Pakistan and India, and in the fullness of time, the entire world. 

From your revealed world, oh God, we know your care and special concern for the poor. We give you thanks that Norman Borlaug responded to your call in a way that has inspired scientists and philanthropists to find ever more ways to provide for the needs of our world. May we all be inspired to change our world for the better by caring for the least of those among us. Amen.

[Postlude by Ms. Anne Michael Langguth]

 

 

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