• John Schillinger, Ph.D., Crop Researcher View Full Bio

    Dr. Schillinger began his career as an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University in 1965. He moved to the University of Maryland in 1967, where he taught plant-breeding courses and conducted research with soybeans. In 1973, John was hired by Asgrow Seed Company to establish a new soybean-breeding program. Through his leadership, Asgrow was recognized in the early 1980’s as one of the leading soybean seed companies. While at Asgrow, Dr. Schillinger developed the soybean variety A3127, which was named "Product of the Decade" by US AgriMarketing.

    Since 2003, John has devoted his research efforts to the development of non-GMO soybean varieties that meet soybean farmer’s needs for yield, but have significantly higher protein and significantly lower anti-nutritional content. His varieties are producing outstanding and novel results in feeding trials with several aqua species, plus poultry and turkeys.

  • Dave Murphy, Founder and Executive Director of Food Democracy Now! View Full Bio

    Dave Murphy is the founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots movement of more than 650,000 American farmers and citizens dedicated to reforming policies relating to food, agriculture and the environment. Murphy has been called “the most crucial and politically savvy actor in the on-going efforts to help move American agriculture into the 21st century” as a result of his “Sustainable Dozen” campaign, which resulted in four candidates being placed in high level positions at the USDA and his efforts to reform food and agriculture under the Obama administration.

    In 2006, Murphy moved back to Iowa to help stop a factory farm from being built near his sister’s farm. After seeing the loss of basic democratic rights of rural Iowans, Murphy decided to stay in Iowa to fight for Iowa’s farmers and rural residents and expose the flaws of industrial agriculture to help create a more sustainable future for all Americans.

    In 2007, Murphy organized the Food and Family Farm Presidential Summit, where 5 of the 6 Democratic candidates pledged their support to help save family farm agriculture and he filmed then Senator Barack Obama’s now famous promise to Iowa farmers to label genetically engineered foods.

    Previously, he has worked as an environmental and food policy lobbyist and political strategist. His writing has appeared in the Nation, the Hill, Huffington Post and the New York Times. Dave is known as the “big dude from Iowa” by friend and foe alike.

  • Dr. Wayne Parrott, professor, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia View Full Bio

    Wayne Parrott received a degree in agronomy from the University of Kentucky, and MS and PhD degrees in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He joined the faculty at the University of Georgia in 1988. Since then he has been conducting research on the development, use and safety of transgenic (i.e., GM) crop plants, using grant monies from USDA-NIFA, NSF, DOE and the United Soybean Board. 

    He has published a guide for environmental risk assessment of GMOs, along with over 90 journal articles in refereed publications and 14 book chapters. He has served terms on the editorial boards of Plant Cell Reports, Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture, and Crop Science. Wayne has served as elected chair of the biotechnology section of the Crop Science Society of America and of the plant section of the Society for In Vitro Biology, and is a fellow of both of these societies. 

    He is actively engaged in training graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and teaches graduate-level courses in genetics, and undergraduate courses in agroecology and sustainable agriculture. He has traveled extensively throughout Latin America and other countries, and advised legislators and regulators in the various countries on the requisites for a functional regulatory system that ensures the safety of GM products. 

    Wayne volunteers as a scientific advisor to the Biotechnology Committee of the International Life Sciences Institute, which serves to bring the best science available to help guide those who formulate regulatory policies.

  • Moderator: John Bachman, Award Winning Journalist View Full Bio

    John Bachman came to WHO-HD in 1987 and anchored the Channel 13 News for 25 years, retiring in November of 2012. 

    In 2006, John was inducted into the Silver Circle of the National Television Academy. The Silver Circle is the Academy's most prestigious acknowledgement of a career in broadcasting. It is a national honor that recognizes not only the inductee's contributions to the television industry, but also to his community. John was also the 2005 recipient of the prestigious Jack Shelley Award, the Iowa Broadcast News Association's highest honor.

    Other achievements include the Alfred I. duPont- Columbia University silver baton for documentary work at KARE-TV in Minneapolis, several regional Emmys for best newscast at WHO-TV, a national Emmy finalist for public service at KARE-TV, and numerous AP and NBNA first place awards for reporting in Iowa and Minnesota.

    John anchored the WHO-TV 10pm Newscast that won the 2006 Edward R. Murrow national award for best newscast in television markets 51 and above.

  • Larry Cleverley, Organic Farmer View Full Bio

    Larry Cleverly is an organic fruit and vegetable farmer in Mingo, Iowa. He and his wife Beth are also the central Iowa distributor for Niman Ranch & La Quercia meats and have had a stand at the Downtown Des Moines farmers market since 1997.

    His forte is growing a wide assortment of lettuce and other greens, which are sold to area restaurants. Larry has a career in marketing and has lived in Chicago and New York City but was very eager to get back to Iowa to grow quality products at a fair price. As the owner of Cleverly Farms, Larry thinks it’s important for his customers to see and know where their food comes from.


  • Wayne Humphreys, Crop and Livestock Farmer View Full Bio

    Wayne Humphreys raises corn, soybeans and operates a custom hog feeding operation near Columbus Junction in Louisa County. He has been farming for nearly 40 years.

    He is currently a member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and a member of the Iowa Farm Bureau Association. He also currently volunteers with the Muscatine FFA chapter.

    In the past, Wayne has been president of the Louisa County Cattleman’s Association, director for the Mississippi Valley Farm Business Association and a member of the Farm Credit Nominating Committee. He has also been a National FFA officer.

    In addition to farming, Wayne is a member of the National Speakers Association and the United Methodist Church. Wayne and his wife Sherry have three children.

  • Katie Olthoff, CommonGround™ volunteer and Turkey Farmer View Full Bio

    Katie Olthoff is a CommonGround volunteer living in Stanhope, Iowa with her husband and two young sons.  She is a graduate of Iowa State University and is very active on her family’s turkey farm. In 2009, the family purchased new barns that include brooder and two finisher sites. Katie and her family raise up to three flocks of turkeys at a time, each at different stages. Each flock consists of 20,000 birds.

    Since Katie is not from a farm, but she helps her husband now, she is well aware of the need to help inform non-farming people about the life of a farmer and the business of family farming.  Connecting with people about the benefits of agriculture and turkey consumption is a great way for Katie to get her message out.

    To learn more about Katie and follow conversations she is having with urban or suburban moms; see the links below for her social networking feeds.

    Twitter: @katieolthoff
    Facebook: On The Banks of Squaw Creek
    Blog: On The Banks of Squaw Creek
    YouTube: MrsOlthoff’s Channel