"Dr. Borlaug's scientific achievements saved hundreds of millions of lives and earned him the Nobel Peace Prize and the distinction of one of the 100 most influential individuals of the 20th Century."
Jimmy Carter
"Dr. Borlaug is an American hero and a world icon."
George H. W. Bush
"This biography of one of the greatest men of our time is written in the same fast-paced, common sense style that has characterized the amazingly creative life of Norman Borlaug... No one can tell this story of Dr. Borlaug better than his fellow agriculturist and development authority, Dr. Leon Hesser."
George McGovern

Norman Borlaug (l) and Leon Hesser (r) at Norman’s boyhood home in Cresco, Iowa
Summer, 2005

Leon Hesser first met Norman Borlaug in Pakistan in 1966. Pakistan and India were experiencing widespread hunger. Hesser was in charge of America’s efforts to help increase food production. Borlaug briefed him on the high-yielding varieties of wheat that he had developed as a Rockefeller Foundation scientist in Mexico, where his technology relieved hunger in that country. Hesser and his team helped introduce Borlaug’s wheat seeds and production technology in the Asian subcontinent, which brought the area to self-sufficiency in foodgrains and averted starvation.

In 1973, Hesser transferred to Washington, DC, where he was director of the U.S. government’s worldwide programs to increase food production in developing countries. Following early retirement from State Department, he served as a consultant to increase food production in twenty countries of Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union.

Hesser grew up on an Indiana farm. He served in the Philippines as a teenage soldier during World War II and then in Japan with the army of occupation. He earned a Ph.D. in agricultural economics at Purdue University before joining the Foreign Service.

In addition to The Man Who Fed the World, Hesser’s books include an autobiography, Nurture the Heart, Feed the World, and a historical treatise, The Taming of the Wilderness: Indiana’s Transition from Indian Hunting Grounds to Hoosier Farmland: 1800 to 1875.

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