Gov. Terry Branstad will join a select group of Iowans in Washington, D.C., for the official unveiling of the Norman Borlaug sculpture in Statuary Hall on March 25.
“We’ll have the entire congressional delegation, students, teachers, business leaders,” said World Food Prize President Kenneth Quinn, who joined the governor for the announcement Wednesday.
Branstad said it was a “fitting tribute” that the unveiling will take place on what would have been Borlaug’s 100th birthday and on National Agriculture Day.
Sometimes referred to as “the man who saved a billion lives,” Borlaug developed high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties working in Mexico, Pakistan and India.
He is one of three Americans who have been awarded the Noble Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. and political activist Elie Wiesel are the others.
The statue depicts the scientist and Cresco native holding his notepad in a field of wheat.
Each state gets two spots for statues in Statuary Hall. The Borlaug statue replaces the statue of U.S. Sen. James Harlan, which was installed in 1910, and joins the statue of Gov. Samuel Kirkwood, installed in 1913. The Harlan statue is being relocated to Mount Pleasant.
“I will say I’m kind of partial to Kirkwood, because he’s the only other governor who served non-consecutive terms,” Branstad said.
Kirkwood served as governor from 1860 to 1864 and then from 1876 to 1877. Branstad is seeking his sixth term as governor. He held the office for four terms from 1983 to 1999. He was elected again in 2010.
Iowans can visit iowaborlaugstatue.org for more information about the statue and events surrounding the dedication. The site includes a link to a documentary created by Iowa Public Television and a link for the March 25 webcast for the ceremony.