Henry Wallace, Scientist

Father of the Green Revolution

by Spencer Cross
from research by Bob Baker, Marcia Merry Baker and David Shavin

As presented in “Who We Fight: Episode II”, Henry Wallace was intent on continuing the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt for not only the development of the peoples of the globe, especially the Pacific, but for the end of the British Empire. The British Empire responded by attacking and slandering Wallace until he could no longer engage in politics. But that didn’t stop Wallace. He lived to make another, lesser known contribution to world civilization: Henry Wallace was the father of the Green Revolution.

Henry Agard Wallace was the third Henry Wallace from a family long dedicated to the agricultural development of the country. His grandfather Henry Wallace Sr. was asked by President McKinley to become the Secretary of Agriculture, but he offered it instead to his friend, Representative Wilson from Iowa, who overhauled the USDA and set up research farms all over the nation.

The Wallace family and the James Wilson family brought George Washington Carver into their homes as a young boy and helped Carver graduate from Iowa State. Jim Wilson, as the Secretary of Agriculture, used USDA funding and helped Carver begin his peanut and sweet potato research at Tuskegee University. Henry III said that during this period, George Washington Carver was his best friend, as they would spend weekends together, walking in the field studying plant life. At the time Carver was age 19, Wallace was 6. This family background and early relationship with this revolutionary scientist would be the beginning of a lifetime of patriotism, and commitment to scientific agriculture.

Henry Wallace III continued the publication of his family agricultural magazine, Wallace’s Farmer, and developed the first successful hybrid seed corn in the world, and the largest hybrid seed corn company, Pioneer Seed. Wallace was successful in this where others were not, because he developed hybrid seeds— not based on what would appear to be the immediate best qualities of the plant as appeared to the eye, but based on a consideration of all of the useful qualities of the crop. He also knew that organic farming was a bunch of hullabaloo, incapable of ever feeding the world. He sought to develop crops resistant to all of the deadly forces of Nature: drought, flooding, disease, and others.

His success in this already changed the face of American Agriculture.

"The spread of hybrid corn is probably the greatest food-production story of the century," "Like a prairie fire it swept across the central part of the country. In 1933 only 1 acre of corn out of a thousand in the United States was planted to hybrids. Ten years later the percentage of land planted to hybrids was a little more than 51. Since that time it has jumped to 67.5 percent...Hybrid-corn yields for the country as a whole average about 25 percent above those of open-pollinated corn. In the 4 years 1942-1945, United States farmers grew an extra 2 billion bushels of corn because of hybrids. In 1945 alone this increase was 600 million bushels, worth three-quarters of a billion dollars."

—USDA Yearbook of Agriculture 1943 to 1947

The state of agriculture in the 1930’s was a desperate situation. Though the World was primarily an agricultural society, primitive methods still dominated. Lack of irrigation and overabundance of water eroded the most fertile top-soils, almost no chemical fertilizers were in use, and the population was subject to the whims of extreme weather, flooding, drought, earthquakes, locusts and other forces of Nature of which mankind had then little control. By 1930, only 20 percent of American farms had a tractor, and only 13 percent had electricity.

Though Wallace was a long-time Republican, he was called on by Franklin Roosevelt to join his cabinet and revitalize American farming in the 30’s, and help he did. Wallace setup the Soil Conservation Service, among others, to help end the Dust Bowl, in conjunction with Roosevelt’s other great programs, the CCC and the TVA water management system. He became Roosevelt’s vice president in 1940, and before he even entered office, he drove with his wife in his Plymouth down to Mexico, the birthplace of corn. His wife and he would stop along the road and talk to everyday farmers, to see what issues they were running up against, and what problems still needed to be solved.

Wallace would later tell Winston Churchill that the idea of an ethnically based, Anglo-Saxon alliance between the United States and Britain made no sense, historically or otherwise:

"Like so many Tories in England and the United States he (Churchill) believes in the innate superiority of the Anglo-Saxon or Teutonic strain. I argued with him against a permanent Anglo-American bloc... but I pointed out that if we were to have one, there is more justification for an alliance with Latin America than with England. He turned to me fiercely and said: 'I am a painter, and I know if you mix the colors, all you get is a dirty brown.'"

As vice president elect, he began to set up various agricultural research institutions, to develop advanced water control systems, irrigation, fertilized farming, erosion protections, and hybrid developments. These would be the institutions that would yield the Green Revolution, from the work of another Iowan, Norman Borlaug, who always said that the real foundations of the Green Revolution was the work of Henry Wallace, and the development of hybrid corn.

Wallace would have been the president, if not for the British installation of Harry Truman. Though President Roosevelt was forced to dump Wallace as vice president, he gave him his choice of cabinet position, except Secretary of State, and Wallace chose the Secretary of Commerce position, as not only would this remove the duplicitous Jesse Jones, but as Commerce Secretary he would control the finances in the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and be able to continue funding and supplying FDR’s New Deal programs.

After Wallace gave a speech at Madison Square Garden in 1946 denouncing the British Empire and calling for Cooperation with Russia, he was reading a book about chicken breeding at his desk in the executive branch, when he was told by Truman that he was fired. Wallace said, “OK,” then finished the book. When he finished the book, he wrote the requested letter of resignation, packed up his belongings, and left.

He was committed to fighting the British treason known as the Truman presidency, so he ran a campaign against him for president in 1948. He continued to fight against Truman and the fraudulent, British created Cold War, and was a crucial factor in avoiding a nuclear confrontation.

As a result, he was heavily slandered by the British press and kicked out of any politics where he could be of much use, so he did what any patriot would, he launched a revolution in science. He returned to his scientific and agricultural background, continuing to work with the agricultural research institutions that he had worked with or set-up, and he continued to develop hybrid plants and animals.

He continued to develop hybrid corn, strawberries, and hybrid chickens, and made constant observations on the role of solar activity in effecting crops. His farm journals during this period became the basis of the Department of Statistics at Iowa State University. He introduced new plant species in different parts of the globe, like the once famous “Wallace Melon” that he introduced in China, having seen that the Chinese climate would be perfect for growing this crop. He tried to develop agriculture everywhere he went, because of the role in the development of the peoples of the globe, but also because he saw it as a way to end empire. He knew that food self-sufficiency and agricultural science were a threat to one of the main tools of the British Empire, and all empires historically: starvation, disease, and famine.

The Green Revolution, the development of Miracle Wheat, hybrid seeds, and the doubling of world food production in the 60’s and 70’s, was a direct result of the work of Henry Wallace.This up-shift in the quality of seeds was a wonderful breakthrough for mankind at that point, and it was supposed to follow a parallel development in advanced water projects for the Third World, advanced soil sciences, farm mechanization, electrification and all the rest of the development proposals, but this was not done. With the death of Kennedy, these programs were eliminated, in favor of cutting NASA and a full engagement in the Vietnam War that the heroes of World War II had warned against.

With our current threat of famine, disease, and global thermonuclear conflict, we need a new revolution in agricultural science. Beyond implementing the immediate policies like NAWAPA that are ready to go now, for soil science we need to think bigger than even the largest project ever to be built by man. Wallace once thought in terms of drought resistant crops and flood resistant crops. But what if an entire global crop is eliminated through famine, or an Obama-triggered nuclear war? What if an entire family of crops, like grains, is eliminated?

We need to develop our capabilities in galactic agriculture, beginning with the immediate colonization of other planets, if we hope to begin to have food self sufficiency. This would be the only honest first step in the development of agriculture, and we can then proudly call our first crop, Empire-Resistant.

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The international angle of accomplishing a new, global development perspective characterized by Glass-Steagall and NAWAPA will be fostered through a close partnership between the United States, Russia, and China. This page is a continuing exploration of the potentials of that arrangement.