WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama, in a recent letter to Julie Borlaug, granddaughter of the late Dr. Norman Borlaug, “father of the Green Revolution,” showed his strong support for continuing Borlaug’s legacy of using of scientific innovation, especially biotechnology, in the fight against global hunger.
Julie Borlaug is external relations director of the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. The institute is named after her grandfather, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Congressional Gold Medal recipient, who was also a distinguished professor of international agriculture at Texas A&M. Borlaug passed away in 2009 at the age of 95.
The President’s letter cited Borlaug’s advances in agriculture as a “model of the American spirit of innovation and ingenuity” and stated that his “support of investment in education and continued research in the biotechnology field are inspirational.”
“I am pleased to join in celebrating the life of your grandfather, Dr. Norman Borlaug,” Obama wrote. “With unwavering commitment to feeding the hungry, leaders like your grandfather profoundly changed the way we develop food products that are accessible to the world’s increasing population.”
The letter recounted a time when Borlaug wrote to Obama, then an Illinois senator campaigning for president, about the importance of agricultural development. It also noted the President’s shared belief that “investment in enhanced biotechnology is an essential component of the solution to some of our planet’s most pressing agricultural problems.”
Julie Borlaug said the letter serves as motivation for continuing the fight against global hunger.
“The president’s support of research, innovation and biotechnology is a strong endorsement that these tools must be utilized as part of a comprehensive solution in the fight against hunger and poverty, not only for the Borlaug Institute but for all engaged in finding solutions to end global hunger,” she said.
Dr. Elsa Murano, interim director of the Borlaug Institute, said, “The President’s strong support of our mission at the Borlaug Institute serves as clear evidence of the importance of the work we do in linking innovation and technology with farmer training and value-chain development across the poorest regions of the world.”
Dr. Bill Dugas, acting vice chancellor for agriculture and life sciences and dean of Texas A&M’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, emphasized the value of Obama’s support in fighting hunger through science.
“We share a strong position with the president on the importance of agricultural biotechnology to minimize extreme hunger and poverty across the world,” Dugas said.
The President closed his letter by pointing out that the agricultural community is indebted to Borlaug and stated “Our Nation will continue to engage in research and development in support of his life’s mission to feed the world.”