Pioneers of rust-resistant wheat remembered
“Magazines of the 1940’s reported that perhaps 25 million people across the world escaped death by starvation due to bread derived from McFadden’s rust resistant wheat, Hope,” said Fanning.
Many of today’s wheat varieties have Hope as a great-grandparent.
In 1914 another pioneer of rust resistant and semi-dwarf wheat, Norman Borlaug, was born on a farm in Iowa. Borlaug received his schooling at the University of Minnesota, and spent most of his life breeding rust-resistant and semi-dwarf wheat varieties.
The semi-dwarf characteristic was recognized by Borlaug as being critical to produce wheat that didn’t lodge under high yields.
“Norman Borlaug is credited with saving more than a billion people from starvation by helping people across the world increase their wheat production,” Fanning said. “Norman Borlaug was a plant pathologist, but also proved to be a good breeder.”
To learn more about McFadden and Borlaug, and the impact they had on the wheat industry, you can visit iGrow.org for links to articles and YouTube videos on the men.