As noted earlier, Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution and 1970 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, died of cancer at age 95 on Saturday. Borlaug's success in crop breeding resulted in tripling cereal crop yields and forestalling the massive famines that were widely predicted in the 1960s. It was extremely gratifying to see the death of this great hero marked on the front pages of the Washington Post and the New York Times.
One of the more unusual (and entertaining) paeans to Borlaug's achievements is "The Norman Borlaug Rap," by Rohan Prakash and friends. Mr. Prakash is the son of Tuskegee University plant geneticist C.S. Prakash. Below are the lyrics and links to recordings of the rap.
I don't know what you been told
about farming and food in days of old,
but listen and take this to the bank:
If there's food in your tummy then you'd better thank
Norman Borlaug, thank you, man
Straight out of Iowa Norman came,
then traveled the world, saw suffering and pain.
Millions of people were starving, yo
in Pakistan, India, Mexico.
But just a few years after Norman came,
they all had bumper crops of grain.
Norman found the great solution,
known as the Green Revolution.
Billions of people are alive today
because of work done by the man named
Norman Borlaug, you may be
the greatest man in history.
Using science and your brain
to stamp out hunger, woe and pain.
Creating new varieties
of plants with new technologies.
You're the man we look up to.
That is why we're thanking you.
But then some people started to panic,
telling the farmers to go organic.
Technophobes started making a mess
of Norman Borlaug's great success.
Green groups thought they found the cure
in stinky piles of cow manure,
telling their governments not to send
fertilizer aid to our African friends.
So Norman came back to defend
high-yield agriculture with his friend,
Jimmy Carter, ex-president,
to help all the African residents.
Norman and Jimmy hopped in a plane
to help the Africans grow more grain.
Soon the men were able to triple
corn yields that the Greens had crippled.
Feeding the planet is his game
and yet he does not have much fame.
Got the highest scientific acclaim,
and now you better know his name is
And he's still working in the fields,
helping the farmers increase their yields.
With fertilizer, water and better plant breeding
he's making sure that farmers are feeding
children and their families
with corn and rice, cassava and peas.
The man has saved so many lives.
That's why they gave the Nobel Prize to
If you don't know, You better ask somebody
Father of the Green Revolution
Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Forgotten Benefactor of Humanity
Go here to hear Prakash and friends sing the rap.
Lead singer: Rohan Prakash
Lyrics: M.C. Tractor
Music Producer: DJ Redd
Chorus: Luckie Egnin, Destiny Caldwell
Background Music: DJ Cadett
Lyrics and link via AgBioWorld.
Disclosure: I am a long time friend of C.S. Prakash, but have not yet had the pleasure of meeting his son.