I count myself among the many people around the world who were privileged to spend some brief time with Norman Borlaug. I remember walking through Ghanaian corn fields, listening as he encouraged farmers and extension agents and especially hearing him tell the story of how his wife, Margaret, received the call from Norway about the Nobel Prize and how she went to the field to find and tell him. There could be no more appropriate place for him to have heard that news.
Since his death on Sept. 12, there have been many articles about Borlaug's life and work, including the Star Tribune's Sept. 15 editorial. There are several lessons that I hope we will not forget. First is Borlaug's unflinching focus on small-scale farmers and the techniques and technologies most helpful to them. Borlaug would not want us to get lost on questions of policy and economics, important as they are, because Borlaug's gift was always to reduce issues and policies down to what it means to farmers at the village level.
Second, Borlaug surrounded his work with scientists, plant breeders and agronomists of outstanding quality and commitment. These are amazing people and I hope that those in this country who determine agricultural policy would take time to listen to what Borlaug's colleagues and staff have to say about foreign assistance, food aid and such.
Lastly, I wonder how many African scientists and agriculture ministers have been influenced by Borlaug. I suspect there may be a direct link between countries where Borlaug's teams have worked extensively and those with national agricultural policies that put small-scale farmers first. Thank you, Norm, for all you have done.
LLEWELLYN HILLE, BUFFALO