Orville Alvin Vogel

National Medal of Science

Biological Sciences

For outstanding contributions to agronomic research including the development of radically new and improved semidwarf varieties of wheat that now grow on five continents and have made the green revolution a reality.

For outstanding contributions to agronomic research including the development of radically new and improved semidwarf varieties of wheat that now grow on five continents and have made the green revolution a reality.

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Birth
May 19, 1907
Age Awarded
68
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
Wheat Research That Made "Green Revolution" Possible
Awarded by
Gerald R. Ford
Education
University of Nebraska
Areas of Impact
Energy & Environment
Affiliations
Washington State University
I

If you ask some farmers, Orville Vogel, a self-proclaimed “dumb wheat breeder,” single-handedly triggered the Green Revolution, a period of increased productivity in global agriculture.

He’s the reason, they say, developing nations didn’t go hungry.

In the 1960s, Vogel led a team that introduced the first successful short-strawed wheat varieties, capable of yielding large crop outputs without stalks collapsing under the weight of the grain.

Vogel sent samples of these new varieties to breeders trying to engineer wheat that would thrive in tropical climates.

One of them, Norman Borlaug, won a Nobel Prize after successfully introducing the modified crops to Mexico, India and Pakistan.

Despite minimal recognition, Vogel never stopped encouraging the work of his peers.

After Vogel retired, he and his wife challenged the wheat industry to raise more funds for similar studies, offering $1 for each $20 contributed by farmers. By the early 1990s, the fund reached $700,000.

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