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Happy birthday, Dr. Borlaug! New monument, name for Obreg贸n station

CIUDAD OBREG脫N, SONORA, MEXICO, 25 MARCH 2010 –The lovely weather and colorful setting of Norman E. Borlaug鈥檚 beloved Mexico graced the morning on what would have been his 96th birthday. Several hundred former friends, colleagues, and Mexican farmers and dignitaries gathered at the experiment station he loved and where he did his most important work to unveil an impressive monument in his honor and to hold a ceremony to rename the Ciudad Obreg贸n station in his memory.

At the center of the superbly organized celebration in honor of Borlaug, who died in September 2009, was his daughter, Jeannie Borlaug Laube. She unveiled an impressive monument including a large, bronze statue of Borlaug looking out toward the Yaqui Valley and, in accord with her father鈥檚 wishes, deposited his ashes in the monument, thanking guests for their life-long support of his work. 鈥淎s you know, my father always loved Mexico and felt at home here,鈥 she said.

In addition to Borlaug Laube, the presidium of speakers included Pedro Brajcich, director of Mexico鈥檚 National Institute of Forestry, Livestock, and Agricultural Research (INIFAP); Francisco Javier Mayorga Casta帽eda, the Mexican Secretary of Agriculture; Guillermo Padr茅s El铆as, the Governor of the state of Sonora; Antonio G谩ndara, president of the southern branch of the Sonora farmers association Patronato; and CIMMYT director general Thomas A. Lumpkin. Part of the ceremony was the public announcement of the change in name of the experiment station from 鈥淐entro de Investigaci贸n Regional del Noroeste鈥 (CIRNO) to 鈥淐ampo Experimental Norman E. Borlaug鈥 (CENEB).

Lumpkin conveyed CIMMYT鈥檚 gratitude to Mayorga Casta帽eda for the special 鈥淒r. Norman E. Borlaug Research Fund鈥 of USD 1 million from the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries, and Food (SAGARPA), launched in October 2009 to support applied agricultural research and technology transfer projects. He thanked the Sonora Governor for the state鈥檚 support for research on Ug99, among other areas of center work. He also had special words of appreciation for Patronato, calling the 65-year collaboration with Sonora farmers 鈥溾he center鈥檚 oldest research partnership.鈥

鈥淥ur collaboration with Mexican scientists, public officials, and producers half a century ago resulted in agricultural technologies that transformed farming worldwide,鈥 Lumpkin said. 鈥淕iven the extreme challenges to food security and natural resource management that humanity faces today, a new productivity transformation is needed. We hope that Mexico is returning to the leading role it played in the 1960s, when it made valuable contributions to fighting the hunger that affected millions on our planet.鈥