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)

Infobox[edit]

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. 129.174.97.34 (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)

Billion?[edit]

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...67.139.16.162 (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 131.104.242.4 (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. 75.189.234.110 (talk) 12:00, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Provide some reliable sources and this can be considered.--ukexpat (talk) 16:04, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Here are the reliable sources you requested:
Can we now make the adjustments to the material to remove the misleading statement the original user requested? David Tornheim (talk) 17:20, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

Defeatured...[edit]

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! --71.174.165.63 (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 74.72.135.171 (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 67.176.121.49 (talk) 15:29, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Graphs[edit]

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)

Criticisms?[edit]

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 142.58.81.248 (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: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1970/borlaug-bio.html — Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.5.238.156 (talk) 09:26, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

Widespread starvation/famine, in India? need sourcing[edit]

I would like to emphasize the need for fact-checking and/or reliable sourcing on this statement:

During the mid-1960s, the Indian subcontinent was at war and experiencing widespread famine [citation needed] and starvation, even though the U.S. was making emergency shipments of millions of tons of grain, including over one fifth of its total wheat, to the region.

The citation-needed tag is from 2012, and my informal Google research tells me there were serious food shortages in Bihar state in the mid 1960s (1966 in particular) but nothing that would be called a widespread famine or starvation as claimed in the content.

Note that there is a source at the end of that sentence, but it's a bio piece on Borlaug. I would like to see an uninvolved source (not about Borlaug) sourcing the claim of widespread famine in India in the mid-1960s, if that is correct factually, and specify the years more accurately if so, as that should be very specifically available information. Otherwise, i would like to remove or tone down the content to be more accurate.

My sense is that there is a story being told here in favor of Borlaug as being a hero of humanity, and in service of this story, some reality is being distorted to paint a picture. We ought to be on guard against such bias if that is the case. SageRad (talk) 13:31, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

Note that the assumed famine is not on this list of famines. SageRad (talk) 15:57, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I suggest reading the source, namely the third to last paragraph. It's from Science, so there's really no question we're dealing with a reliable source here for a biography and general related history. It documents there was famine on the subcontinent in 1966-67, the shipping of the wheat from the US, and the role the new variety played. I've removed the citation needed template and the mention of war since it's not really needed here. The Green Giant ref mentions war, but it's tangential. Kingofaces43 (talk) 16:00, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
I reverted your removal of the cn tag because it appears to be a contentious edit, and discussion is underway here. That tag was there since 2012, and there is no immediate rush to remove it at this very moment just because i brought this topic to discussion. As you can tell, i am not satisfied by the existing sourcing, which is a 1970 hagiographic article on Borlaug, and i cannot find other sufficient evidence that there really was what would be called "widespread famine" in the "Indian subcontinent" in the mid 1960s. I would think some basic Google searching would find evidence for this huge event if it were seriously true as presented. It appears the article is not representing reality properly here, on my first glance, and i would appreciate if you'd take my concern more seriously. It has the appearance of following or hounding me, as you and i have had contentious interactions in the recent few months, as well. That's another reason for being a bit more cautious in your editing on this, after my bringing this point up. SageRad (talk) 16:23, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
Okay. I have downloaded the Science article, the report on Borlaug by Lester Brown, and i find it does not support the content in the article, not even by a stretch. Therefore, you've either misread the source or are misrepresenting it here. The source specifically says: "One need only recall the close brush with famine on the Indian-Pakistan subcontinent in 1966 and 1967, a famine that was averted only by shipping one-fifth of the U.S. wheat crop to India, and the projection of massive famine in Asia in the 1970's, to realize that the new seeds are a godsend." Keep in mind, this is not a peer-reviewed article. It's a report on Borlaug written by one author who appears to have a strong agenda to present in the piece. The piece appears hagiographic in tone and nature, and to be biased to present reality in a way that forwards an agenda. It being in Science does not make it the last word on the subject, and it is not a peer-reviewed article. It's a product of the time, the year 1970, and reflects that mindset. It also does not establish the claim that there was widespread famine on the Indian subcontinent in the mid 1960s, so the claim is not sufficiently sourced and actually should be removed immediately. SageRad (talk) 16:35, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
First, please refrain from WP:ASPERSIONS, especially since your behavior is being discussed at ArbCom. Best to WP:FOC with that in mind.
The content was sourced, so there was nothing more to discuss here in terms of the tag. The source documents that famine/food shortages were a problem at that time in that area. Keep in mind that we do not require peer-reviewed sources for biographic content or general history of this type. Science is one of the most reputable journals out there, has fact checking, etc, so that makes it a higher quality source than say most newspapers. If you really want to go forward with the idea that the source isn't reliable for the content, you are more than welcome to bring this up WP:RSN. Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:06, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
What aspersions do you refer to? Please be specific.
The source definitely does not support the claims. I quoted the source and the quote does not support the content in the article. SageRad (talk) 17:34, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
Given that this tends to be a low traffic article in the time I've had it on my watchlist, I went ahead and posted at RSN. [[1]] Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:51, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
The issue is not whether Science is a reliable source, but rather that the source does not support the content as written. So it's not a sourcing issue. And over at RS noticeboard, you completely misrepresented this conflict. SageRad (talk) 18:05, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

undent: I've fixed it. The 5th of wheat is cited to the science article, though the more I read of it the less I'm sure of it's reliability...but don't think that stat is disputed, the not-widespreadness is linked to the full article on the famine/near famine, which has numerous excellent sources. 78.144.221.190 (talk) 19:24, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

Further note, I see other examples of statement that simply aren't backed up by the source. Dunno if there's some kinda environmentalist/GMO pov stuff going on here, and I don't care enough to investigate further. The whole section seems a little sensationalist & misleading. 78.144.221.190 (talk) 19:36, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, IP user, looks good to me. SageRad (talk) 19:37, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
In the future, please be much more clear on what you're actually looking to do with content. Your language above indicates that the source couldn't be used to indicate the famine occurred or what was done to alleviate it, and we have a very different content outcome that you are saying looks good. That being said, there are issues with the current language because just calling it a minor famine doesn't convey the detail about the major initial food shortage that was alleviated by aid and other methods. Context will be important for expanding this piece of content, but I'm leaving that be until ArbCom is wrapped up. Kingofaces43 (talk) 21:30, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
Kingofaces43, i agree that clarity is useful. In this case, i wasn't clear what to do about the content, but i had simply flagged that it seemed problematic based on my reading, and made this comment on the talk page. I am glad we at least improved the article through this dialogue. Thought it may have been a bit rough and a few misunderstandings arose, i think this process worked eventually. SageRad (talk) 22:22, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

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Lives saved[edit]

There seems to be provided no trustworthy source for the number of lives saved being over a billion. ScienceHeroes.com says about 300 million[1]. Shouldn't the number be changed to 295 million lives? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 93.167.170.110 (talk) 14:23, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

An agency founded in 1935 enabled Borlaug to enroll in 1933[edit]

According to the article as it stood, "Through a Depression-era program known as the National Youth Administration, he was able to enroll at the University of Minnesota in 1933." For the moment, I've removed that statement from this article. According to Wikipedia, the Roosevelt administration established that agency in 1935.

Wordsmith (talk) 03:25, 23 April 2017 (UTC)

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  1. ^ http://www.scienceheroes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=68&Itemid=116