Panel to offer ag industry views on food, farming and Michael Pollan

Viewpoints from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, Organic Valley Co-op, the state’s cranberry growers and the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection board regarding food, farming and the work of author Michael Pollan will be presented in a panel discussion on Thursday, Oct. 1.

The discussion, to be held at 4 p.m. in Room 2103 at Chamberlin Hall, 1150 University Ave. on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, is titled “Wisconsin Farmers: What to Eat.”

It is the first in a series titled “What to Eat: A Seven-Discourse Meal,” presented by the UW-Madison agroecology program.

Pollan’s book, “In Defense of Food,” was chosen as this year’s selection of the Go Big Read common-reading program. Pollan’s writings have attracted passionate defenders and critics, and the reading program encourages discussions of viewpoints on all sides of the issue.

The discussion will be presented by a panel including:

– Bill Bruins, president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and dairy farmer near Waupun;

– Richard Cates, member of the state Board of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and pasture-based beef farmer near Spring Green; and

– Louise Hemstead, chief operating officer of Organic Valley Co-op and an organic dairy farmer near La Farge.

– Tom Lochner, Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Association

John Shutske, associate dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and leader of the Agricultural and Natural Resources program with UW-Extension Cooperative Extension, will introduce the panel.

Details about the “What to Eat” lectures series, which is associated with UW-Madison’s Go Big Read project, are available online at

More details about the common book project itself can be found at

For more information on this or other lectures in the series, contact Michael Bell, professor of community and environmental sociology, at 608-265-9930 or