Borlaug: Iowa Wrestler Who Saved A Billion Lives

Iowa Farm Scene

NCAA Wrestling Championships were held in Des Moines last week; World Food Prize hero Norman Borlaug was part of the conversation.

Published on: March 29, 2013

Borlaug developed his passion for wrestling at Cresco High School; he then wrestled at the University of Minnesota. He's in the NCAA Wrestling Hall of Fame for accomplishments as a collegiate athlete and also for his extraordinary achievements as a plant pathologist. March 25, 2013 was the 99th birthday of Norman Borlaug, who died in 2009. To help honor Borlaug's birthday when the NCAA wrestling championships were in Des Moines last weekend, the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates held an open house on Saturday, March 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It was free to the public and many people attended -- many of them visitors from out of town. The World Food Prize building is just a few short blocks from Wells Fargo Arena.

Wrestlers and fans of all ages from all over the U.S. visited the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates last weekend in Des Moines

Wrestlers and wrestling fans of all ages from all over the U.S. and several foreign countries were in town to attend the national wrestling championship and many visited the Borlaug Hall of Laureates at the World Food Prize building. The beautifully restored structure is the former Des Moines downtown public library. It is 110 years old and the restoration is magnificent. The building is filled with historical displays and artwork to help tell the story of the World Food Prize and the story of agriculture. Displays honor a number of Iowans who've been instrumental over the years in agriculture and related endeavors and accomplishments in helping feed the world.

Tours were given and the hour-long documentary film about Borlaug, "Freedom from Famine," was shown several times at the open house. For more information about Borlaug, the World Food Prize and hours and days of the week when the Hall of Laureates is open to the public, you can go to the World Food Prize website.

Sport of wrestling taught Borlaug valuable lessons that helped him accomplish great things in his life

Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, the current president of the World Food Prize Foundation and friend of Borlaug who knew him well, is proposing that the memory of Norman Borlaug be brought into the effort to preserve Olympic wrestling. Borlaug is held in enormous respect throughout Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America, says Quinn. And these are parts of the world where wrestling isn't a popular sport. Likely, there is little support for the sport of wrestling within the Olympic committees of those countries.