(Texas A&M AgriLife photo)
Word of Norman Borlaug’s death was a sad surprise. I was hoping that somehow the man would live forever. The world could have used that.
There is much yet to be written about the “father of the Green Revolution” and Nobel Prize winner. I just want to add my own little note of tribute, and that's to celebrate his ear for language.
No one in production agriculture spoke more straight about the need for new technology, which too seldom has had effective voices. I think Borlaug reminded a lot of us of our fathers and grandfathers, of our mothers and grandmothers, who tended the soil, were humble, and saw true purpose in their labor. When Borlaug and these men and women of the land spoke out, it really meant something.
One thing I guess I didn’t expect to find in Borlaug was an ear for poetic language. He had this to say to one of his biographers, the New York Times reported today: “When wheat is ripening properly, when the wind is blowing across the field, you can hear the beards of the wheat rubbing together. They sound like pine needles in a forest. It is a sweet whispering music that once you hear, you never forget.”
Norman Borlaug is someone we in agriculture likely will never forget either.
Here's a collection of YouTube videos that let you hear Dr. Borlaug in his own voice: