Talk:Norman Borlaug

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Former featured article Norman Borlaug is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on July 27, 2005.

Wikipedia being used as a reference[edit]

If you look at citation 26, it seems to be using a Wikipedia article (Green Revolution) as a reference. If it is doing this, it should cite the reference directly. If it is not, it should be changed to make it more clear (and a real reference should probably be added). Richard001 (talk) 09:50, 8 June 2008 (UTC)


I expanded the infobox and added the Noble Prize image. Also, Borlaug is one of the six American Noble Peace Prize winners alive today, I think that should be noted somewhere. Thoughts?

~G Geasterb 19:08, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Photo of apartment he was living in at University of Minnesota[edit]

As it so happens, I've been working with an author writing a biography of Norman Borlaug and he asked me (as a Wikipedian photographer in Minneapolis) to take some photos of where he lived at the U, based on addressed supplied by Mr. Borlaug. Unfortunately, urban renewal (and the ill-fated 35W Bridge) have claimed all but one building. I have a photo of it (and the relevant area of the article has no photo), but my only source for its veracity are emails from the biographer (Dr. Noel Vietmeyer). Since this an FA, I want to be careful not to create a problem. Would it be useful? If so, how could we move forward? --Bobak (talk) 22:11, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Won and awarded[edit]

I would like to change a sentence to read, "Borlaug is one of five people in history to have won the Nobel Peace Prize and been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal."

The last two awards are not won, but are awarded or bestowed. I await your thoughts. (talk) 17:31, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

The Nobel is also, for that matter, not "won" in the sense you mean, but this is a matter of style, not substance. If you decide to follow WIKI protocol and "Be Bold", please change them all. And note the change I just made -- it's six, not five -- the Newsweek writer who appears to have been the source of "five" omitted Aung San Suu Kyi. . . . . Jim . . . . Jameslwoodward (talkcontribs) 14:21, 18 September 2009 (UTC)


I'm sorry if this has already been covered - the discussion page seems short for such a great guy, but I couldn't find an archive (maybe I just missed it)...anyway, question is: What about the "billion" figure quoted by Penn on Bullshit!? Where does that come from, and why does the article say 245 million instead? Thank you. Applejuicefool (talk) 16:13, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

I believe the difference in numbers relates to deaths versus starvation without dying. 245 million were saved from dying where "over a billion" were saved from a LIFE (or death) of starvation. It's just a thought, though... I don't have any sources... (talk) 17:36, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Organic farming yields.[edit]

In the section of the article Borlaug hypothesis a claim was made about the yields of organic farming methods being low. The jury is still out regarding the relationship of yields between conventional (i.e. Green Revolution) methods and organic methods. See Organic farming for various citations. I understand that the previous version linked to the Organic farming article, but making the argument that organic farming is "low-yield", while the cited article disputes this claim seems misleading. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sfingram (talkcontribs) 16:44, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

this is pretty much true for any significant crop you can think of, and i doubt anyone will want to wast time debating it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:50, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
There is a lot missing from the "Criticisms" section. Organic, organic-like, and modern biodynamic farming practices are vastly more productive and less costly than what the "green" revolution has lead to: industrial agriculture. This is more or less a settled debate and really needs to be expanded upon here, IMHO. (talk) 12:00, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Provide some reliable sources and this can be considered.--ukexpat (talk) 16:04, 11 September 2012 (UTC)


Wow, what a coincidence. The article was de-featured a day after his death, after a Featured Article Review process that's been going on for a while now. — BRIAN0918 • 2009-09-13 23:24Z

Purely coincidental. Dabomb87 (talk) 00:57, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Are you sure he didn't see the handwriting on the wall, impending decertification, which caused him to die? Mrs. Nixon got a stroke and died after reading "All the President's Men". Farewell, Professor Borlaug. President of Chicago (talk) 04:22, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

On the positive side, there will be lots of new sources (obituaries and the like) so it could be re-featured in short order. The subpage at WP:FAR should provide a list of the article's shortcomings, although no doubt it has changed substantially in the last week or so. Requiescat in pace. -- Hyphen8d (talk) 18:43, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Green Revolution problems[edit]

This article makes it sound like perfection. I was taught by professors that the disadvantages of the Green Revolution was that the new plants were more suseptible to disease. So if it work, it worked well. If it failed, it failed worse than the old crops. President of Chicago (talk) 04:22, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

That may or may not be true, but even so, a chance that a crop will fail occasionally is far better than chronically inadequate harvests. Life is a crap-shoot, high-yield farming greatly improves the odds
Not that they are more susceptible to disease in general but that monocultured crops are more vulnerable when a disease does hit since they are all equally susceptible; a more diverse crop usually means that some plants will survive. Surprisingly this topic is not covered at all at monoculture except for an external link! -- (talk) 05:53, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
indeed it isnt, am adding section to Monoculture now about monocultured crops being more vunerable to a disease if one does strike.Philman132 (talk) 11:13, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

President of Chicago is indicative of the problem Wikipedia faces: the ability for someone with a rudimentary education to pontificate on something with no credible basis to support it outside of "my professor told me". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:08, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Does this comment fall within the guidelines? In any event, the original comment is not indicative of a problem with Wikipedia. This poster has not changed anything, but merely asked a question, which resulted in clarification. The poster may have expertise in another area. You don't know that he or she doesn't. We don't know anything about this person's educational level. To the extent that someone raises questions about areas they don't understand, they serve the function of showing us what the typical readers see. Many times, such perspectives can show us what needs to be made clearer. Ileanadu (talk) 18:11, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

I'm confused about some of the areas in Criticism: The intro material says he helped created disease resistant wheat, but the Criticism section says that he was criticized for increasing herbicide use due to herbicide resistant crops. Wouldn't disease resistant crops require less herbicide? In any event, nothing in the article indicates that herbicide use increased, unless this is one part of large industrial farming. Similarly, the Criticism section mentions the economic effects of using "inorganic fertilizer and pesticides," but nothing in the sections prior to criticism mention anything other than the section on Dwarfing which mentions the use of nitrogen fertilizers. Nitrogen fertilizer can be organic or inorganic. Did Borlaug insist that inorganic fertilizers and pesticides be used? Only in a later section - on Africa - is any possibly inorganic fertilizer mentioned:

Visiting Ethiopia in 1994, Jimmy Carter won Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's support for a campaign seeking to aid farmers, using the fertilizer diammonium phosphate and Borlaug's methods.

I also don't see from the article how Borlaug's work resulted in (or increased the drive to) industrial farming. There's no reason the crops could not be planted and harvested by local farms, except for the [mention of] resistance from native populations. Borlaug worked directly with governments and a lot of his work was funded by the Rockefeller foundation. Were they the ones who implemented Borlaug's methods through industrial farming or was that something Borlaug did? The quote above suggests that in Ethiopia at least, Borlaug's methods were introduced via local farmers. There are facts that missing here to make the link between what Borlaug is described as doing in the article and how this led to large industrial farms. There's no foundation laid to be able to understand nor evaluate several of the criticisms. Ileanadu (talk) 18:11, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Honorary Degree Awarded by Dakota Wesleyan University[edit]

Norman Borglaug received an honorary degree from Dakota Wesleyan University, Mitchell, South Dakota, in December, 2008. It was awarded in a private ceremony at his home. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:29, 14 September 2009 (UTC)


It is a shame that the graphs have a 500kg/Ha baseline instead of 0. Also they might be better in Tonnes/HA, decreasing the number of digits. Rich Farmbrough, 12:25, 17 September 2009 (UTC).

Except it is neither Ha (which appears on the graph as well as in Farmbrough's usage) nor HA (Farmbrough), and you shouldn't use a slash with spelled out word. Starting at 0 t/ha rather than 0.5 t/ha would be less misleading; that still hasn't been fixed. Gene Nygaard (talk) 00:29, 25 March 2010 (UTC)


Given the controversy surrounding the Green Revolution and GMO, there should be a section outlining the criticisms of Borlaug's work and research. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:42, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Suggestion to improve accuracy[edit]

May I request some help with an edit of mine that was reverted due to my COI because I work for the organization mentioned - IRRI. It relates to the last paragraph in the Expansion to South Asia: the Green Revolution section. The information as presented may give the impression it was only Borlaug involved in developing semi-dwarf rice, which does not accurately reflect the very significant role others played. It is captured a bit better on the Green_Revolution page under history. This non-IRRI source seems to capture it well too I think and another source written by someone around at the time is the IRRI-published book An adventure in applied science - see page 53, for mention of who was responsible. Sophie Clayton (talk) 06:57, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

I have reworded the passage slightly, in a way i think is consistent with the cited source, but which also (I think) gives greater emphasis to the collective nature of the endeavor. -- UseTheCommandLine ~/talk ]# ▄ 09:15, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
UseTheCommandLine I'm not sure your edit is accurate. It doesn't make sense to credit colleagues at CGIAR with developing the first high-yielding rice because the first high-yielding rice was released in 1966 (as per this book's foreword and this 2013 science paper and this older paper from 1999 to name a couple) which is before CGIAR was formed in 1970. Your source for this edit is not online so I can't see what it says, nor can I verify the involvement of Hunan Rice Research Institute elsewhere (I'll keep looking!), but aside from that would it be possible to to cross reference this paragraph with other online sources? Sophie Clayton (talk) 08:53, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
You're going to have to wait for someone who knows this material to come along. All I did was change the wording (very slightly) of what the article said before you changed it. I don't know enough about the subject to be competent to evaluate your evidence. -- UseTheCommandLine ~/talk ]# ▄ 09:00, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Norman Borlaug was biologist not agronomist, check here[edit]

.......Immediately before and immediately after receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in 1937, he worked for the U.S. Forestry Service at stations in Massachusetts and Idaho. Returning to the University of Minnesota to study plant pathology, he received the master's degree in 1939 and the doctorate in 1942.

From 1942 to 1944, he was a microbiologist on the staff of the du Pont de Nemours Foundation where he was in charge of research on industrial and agricultural bactericides, fungicides, and preservatives.......

He achieved a B.Sc in Science not in agronomy

It's declared also in Nobel Prize biography: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:26, 2 November 2013 (UTC)