Past Event


A Road Scholar Program by Brian [Fox] Ellis

You have been invited to a private board meeting and celebration of John Deere & Co. The founder of the company is retiring and handing the plow to his son Charles.

John Deere reflects on the history of his self-scouring plows, shares some of his personal struggles, and then turns to the future and the great changes in agriculture that he foresees in the vision of his son, who is about to transform the company and the future of farming.

Historian, author, and actor Brian “Fox” Ellis, in character as John Deere, will cover a century of agricultural history and then lead a discussion on the future of farming. Raising issues such as the pros and cons of agriculture versus agribusiness, the roles of technology and mechanization, and the significance of small family farms, centennial farms, and community-supported agriculture, this program promises to engage the audience in a complex conversation about the directions that our ongoing efforts to feed the world might take.

Turning the conventional question-and-answer session format on its head, a substantial portion of this presentation will consist of John Deere asking the members of the audience questions about their family roots in agriculture and where they think the future will lead us.

Learn more about Brian “Fox” Ellis.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Jane Lenser at