By Brenna Goth/CIMMYT
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Happy birthday, Norman Borlaug!
CIMMYT is celebrating 100 years of Norman Borlaug with the #Borlaug100 Summit on Wheat for Food Security in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, Mexico. The first day of the Summit was spent with a few of Dr. Borlaug’s favorite things: visits to the wheat fields, collaboration with local farmers and carne asada.
Nearly 700 people from more than 60 countries are attending the Summit, which unites some of the greatest minds in agriculture to talk about Dr. Borlaug’s legacy, wheat science and food security. On Tuesday, participants visited the Norman E. Borlaug Experimental Station (CENEB) for a morning of field visits and the official opening of the Summit.
There is no better place to celebrate Dr. Borlaug than Sonora’s irrigated wheat fields, said CIMMYT Director General Thomas Lumpkin. The area is the cradle of the Green Revolution and continues to be among the most important wheat research stations in the world.
Buses took participants to sites throughout the research station to learn about CIMMYT breeding program efforts, wheat improvement strategies and efforts to breed for rust resistance. The wheat physiology group demonstrated tools used to measure wheat photosynthesis and the use of blimps and helicopters in its research.
The sessions focused on recognizing Dr. Borlaug and how his legacy contributes to the station’s research today. Some of Dr. Borlaug’s most important work started in Sonora.
The day recognized Dr. Borlaug’s fondness for Mexico by including a traditional barbeque and mariachi music. Letters and reports from students at the Norman E. Borlaug Primary School, near Mexico City, were displayed at the station.
The official opening of the Summit featured CIMMYT officials and Mexican leaders. Dr. Borlaug worked closely with Mexican farmers and mentored Mexican youth, which is a relationship that needs to be renewed, Lumpkin said.
Sonoran officials welcomed participants to Ciudad Obregón while those who knew Dr. Borlaug personally called him the father of modern agriculture for the Yaqui Valley, where Ciudad Obregón is located. Enrique Martínez y Martínez, representing the president of Mexico, spoke about Borlaug’s impact on the country and the state of agriculture today.
The event will continue tomorrow with talks by speakers including Sir Gordon Conway and Howard G. Buffett.