They were officially awarded the 2013 World Food Prize during a ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, in the home state of Dr. Norman Borlaug, founder of the World Food Prize and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Borlaug, who died in 2009, was born in 1914 on a farm at Cresco, Iowa and became a plant breeder who went on to earn fame as the Father of the Green Revolution.
The theme of this year's Borlaug Dialogue was "The Next Borlaug Century: Biotechnology, Sustainability and Climate Volatility."
Video footage of the Laureate ceremony as well as presentations at the symposium and much more information about this year's event is available at the World Food Prize website. Here are some quotes from the three Laureates at the award ceremony at the Iowa Capitol, as they accepted their awards:
Mary-Dell Chilton: "Our work, which began as curiosity-driven, fundamental research, now finds worldwide application in agriculture with great promise of benefitting all mankind. Nothing could be more gratifying than that."
"The choice of plant biotechnology researchers for the World Food Prize 2013 recognizes the valuable contribution of this science to agriculture. When I began this work, I scarcely could have imagined the profound effect it would have on agriculture today. Neither could I have imagined the controversy that has accompanied our discoveries and advances. It is my hope that we can put to rest this misguided opposition and convince the public of the safety, benefit and ecological value of this new and useful technology. It is a wonderful tool for plant breeders to help them grow food for a hungry future. We will need it."
"I also thank the committee for its role in increasing the recognition of the contribution of women to science and innovation. I also hope that school-age girls around the world will be encouraged to pursue science and know that their achievements can make important contributions to society."
Robert Fraley: "I also like to thank the selection committee, Ambassador Quinn and Mr. Ruan for recognizing biotechnology. That took courage. And we really appreciate the forum it provides to have this really important discussion about the role of innovation in technology and agriculture."
"I'd like to accept the award on behalf of the plant scientists across the industry and academia who have worked so hard to get us to this point and importantly are going to work so hard to get us to where we need to be in the future."