CONSUMER PANEL
Morning General Session
August 12, 2020
 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM


The consumer, be it urban households or entire continents, is demanding more transparency in the food production process.  Health, food and animal safety, and social impact are more than buzz words as they challenge the traditional food-choice drivers of price, taste, and convenience.  Retailers have responded and the labels crowding our packaging are testament to the undeniable fact that consumers have more information available to them at the point of purchase than ever before.  This panel explores the impact of consumer demand and how agribusiness can continue to respond effectively to this new type of consumer.


Panel Moderator:  Dr. Jayson Lusk

Dr. Jayson Lusk currently serves as Distinguished Professor and Head of the Agricultural Economics Department at Purdue University.  Lusk is a food and agricultural economist who studies what we eat and why we eat it.  Since 2000, Lusk has published more than 240 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals on a wide assortment of topics ranging from the economics of animal welfare to consumer preferences for genetically modified food to the impacts of new technologies and policies on livestock and meat markets to analyzing the merits of new survey and experimental approaches eliciting consumer preferences.  

Lusk has been listed as one of the most prolific and cited food and agricultural economists of the past two decades in a variety of outlets including here, here, here, here, and here, won numerous research awards, given hundreds of lectures for businesses, nonprofits, trade industry organizations, and universities in the US and abroad, has been interviewed or published editorials in outlets such as the New York TimesWall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and has made TV appearances on Fox and Friends, the John Stossel Show, Varney & Co., and Wall Street Journal Live, among others.  Lusk served on the editorial councils of eight academic journals including the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, and Food Policy and consulted for various nonprofits, government agencies, and agribusinesses. 

Lusk also was elected to and served on the executive committees of the three largest U.S. agricultural economics associations. He is a fellow of the Western Agricultural Economics Association and a fellow and past president of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.In 2007, he co-authored a book on experimental auctions (a consumer research method) with Jason Shogren published by Cambridge University Press and co-authored an undergraduate textbook on agricultural marketing and price analysis with Bailey Norwood published by Prentice-Hall.  In 2011, he released a book co-authored with Norwood on the economics of farm animal welfare published by Oxford University Press and also co-edited (with Jutta Roosen and Jason Shogren) the Oxford Handbook on the Economics of Food Consumption and Policy.  His first trade book, The Food Police: A Well-Fed Manifesto about the Politics of Your Plate, was published by Crown Forum in 2013.  His most recent book Unnaturally Delicious:  How Science and Technology are Serving Up Super Foods to Save the World was published by St. Martin's Press in 2016.   


Panelist:  Eric Halvorson

Eric Halvorson is the Manager of Corporate Affairs for the Central Division of The Kroger Co.  He is the media spokesman for grocery stores, pharmacies, and fuel centers that reach from eastern Missouri to western Ohio.  He also directs the division's philanthropic service, in particular the Zero Hunger Zero Waster plan, Kroger's commitment to hunger relief and sustainability.  Eric joined Kroger after a long and successful career as a journalist and TV news lead anchor.  He earned Emmy awards and other honors during his years at WISH-TV in Indianapolis.  Eric also worked as an instructor at the University of Indianapolis and as a documentary producer for WFYI in Indianapolis.  

Eric attended Butler University in Indianapolis where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio/TV and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.  He returned to Butler to earn a Master of Arts in History and Political Science.  
Eric and his wife, Theresa, live in Carmel where they are proud grandparents of three children.


 Panelist:  Elaine Gillis

Elaine Gillis is a farmer and business manager for their family farm.  She farms alongside her husband, Craig and their teenage son, Adam.  She farms in East Central Indiana, primarily in Delaware, Blackford, and Jay counties.  Elaine and her husband farm around 2800 acres of corn and soybeans.  Additionally, in the spring, 4-H pigs are added to the farm.  Elaine not only helps with the daily operations of the farm, but also with the Beck’s Seed Dealership they manage throughout the year.  Elaine manages the seed warehouse and billings for the seed business and in the fall does the majority of the combining for the operation.

Elaine has been involved with many agricultural organizations over the years, including, 4-H, her county Farm Bureau Incorporated Board, Farm Bureau State Young Farmer Committee, State Farm Bureau PAC ELECT Committee, Indiana Soybean Alliance, a School of Ag Scholarship Advisory Committee at Purdue, and others.  She is also an active volunteer in her church, St. Francis of Asissi in Muncie.

Elaine earned her BS in Agriculture Economics at Purdue University.  Outside of farming, Elaine enjoys being outside, a variety of exercising, being with family and friends, and working with friends in an apparel boutique venture.


Panelist:  Heather Tallman

Heather Tallman is the Program Director for Indiana Grown:  the local agriculture marketing initiative for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.  Indiana Grown markets and promotes all agricultural products that are packaged, raised, grown and processed in Indiana.  Under the Indiana Grown umbrella, you can see projects ranging from Indiana Grown for Schools - the states farm to school program, or the Farmers Market featuring Indiana Grown - the countries first agriculture airport partnership in the country.  Indiana Grown staff connects buyers with the locally grown and made products they are looking for while also working with hospitals, schools, and institutions to purchase more food that was processed or grown in Indiana.  

Heather Tallman has over 14 years of experience with food and agriculture messaging.  As the owner of Kitchen Sink Media, Heather worked with brands large and small to develop content for shoppers just like her.  Lateron Heather transitioned to Indiana Grown to educate consumers on the bounty of Indiana's agriculture industry.


Panelist:  Tyler Herald

Chef Tyler Herald came by his culinary career honestly, when he was 14 years old, his mother bought a restaurant.  "She was a single mom and had to work long hours.  If I wanted to eat, I had to learn to cook."  Thankfully for us, he not only wanted to eat, but he wanted to master the culinary arts.  Chef Tyler was responsible for menu development, ingredient sourcing and overall kitchen management for all locations of Cafes Patachou, Petite Chou Bistro, Napolese Pizzeria, and Public Greens.  During Tyler's time with this group, his requirement for working with the best ingredients, seasonal and local, put him in constant communication with the farmer partners.  The farming community always appreciated his patronage.  Due to Tyler's passionate sourcing, Patachou uses the bounty of no less than 40 local producers on its menu making it the largest supporter of family farms in the area.  

After a successful and long career with this group of restaurants, Tyler just recently accepted a new position at US Foods as Food Fanatic Chef.