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Successful, sustainable farming to be focus of 'Thursdays at the U'

| Linda Tollefsrud and Diane Walkoff

Are you from a farming family? If not, you likely know people who are farmers and appreciate the role they play in Wisconsin’s economy. 

Brian DeVore

Brian DeVore

Journalist Brian DeVore, author of the 2018 book “Wildly Successful Farming: Sustainability and the New Agricultural Land Ethic” (University of Wisconsin Press), will discuss farmers in Wisconsin, Minnesota and across the Midwest who are balancing profitability and food production with environmental sustainability and a passion for all things wild to open UW-Eau Claire – Barron County's "Thursdays at the U" spring series.

"Wildly Successful Farming: Public Policy and the New Agricultural Land Ethic" by Brian DeVore

DeVore’s talk will be from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Feb. 6 in the Blue Hills Lecture Hall (Room 234, Ritzinger Hall) on the Rice Lake campus.

DeVore will describe how farmers are using innovative cropping and livestock production techniques and strategies to develop their “wildly” fruitful farms as working ecosystems. These farmers also adhere to the principles of the “land ethic” that Aldo Leopold discussed in his 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac.” DeVore also will address the role public policy can play in promoting and supporting the kind of regenerative agriculture that produces numerous environmental and economic benefits in local communities.

“Over the past few decades, I have written about farmers from across the Midwest who are successfully blending agriculture and ecology to create ‘wildly successful’ crop and livestock operations,” DeVore said. “These farms serve as models for how we can create a food production system that is good for the environment, our rural communities and eaters.”

DeVore has had more than 30 years of experience writing in-depth articles related to agriculture, the environment and natural history. In addition to his 2018 book, he has had numerous book chapters published, including “The Farm as Natural Habitat: Reconnecting Food Systems with Ecosystems” (Island Press, 2002) and “Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill” (Watershed Media, 2007). DeVore holds a degree in agricultural journalism with a minor in fish and wildlife biology from Iowa State University.

Feel free to bring your lunch to enjoy as you listen to our speaker. The Riverside Café, located in the UW-Eau Claire – Barron County Student Center, is open from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Thursday during the academic year.

The series is free and open to the public, thanks to support from the UW-Eau Claire – Barron County Foundation. DeVore’s talk also is supported by the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership at UW-Madison. 

For more information about "Thursdays at the U," contact Dr. Linda Tollefsrud, professor emeritus of psychology, UW Colleges, at or 715-788-6216. 

Top photo caption: Peter Allen of Mastodon Valley Farm in southwestern Wisconsin has used rotational grazing of livestock to restore an oak savanna habitat in the Kickapoo River Valley while making a living selling grass-fed meat.