Episode 02: Dr. Scott Haley – Wheat as a Commodity Crop and its Significance in the Food System


Production Team

In this edition of the Future of Food, we continue the food conversation with another Colorado State University Specialist this time with a special focus on wheat breeding.  Wheat is a global commodity, so common that it is often overlooked. We discuss plant breeding and plant genetics throughout the conversation, yet we tackle this topic from a new perspective. Wheat may not be a hot topic in most social circles, but it very well should be considering one in every 5 calories consumed comes from wheat. We often overlook the importance of wheat when discussing agriculture, but our global dependence on grains makes this a crucial topic to learn more about.

Scott covers some of the misinformation surrounding the wheat industry. He expresses some of his concerns with misconceptions regarding the nature of gluten intolerance, and he also takes a somewhat foreboding but realistic stance on the benefits and possibilities of organic/sustainable farming. We really appreciate the skepticism he brought to the table as nothing is ever a simple black and white, and we’re curious to hear what our listeners perspective. As always, please reach out to us with any of your questions or comments.

If you are interested in further resources, Scott mentioned the book ‘The Wizard and the Profit’ by Charles C. Mann which can be found  here.


He also mentions the book ‘Wheat Belly’ by Dr. William Davis which has been a source for some controversy. He discusses that the author pushes the idea that plant breeders have altered the properties of wheat so that we have increasing sensitivity to them. He also explains some of the science on why this is not true. You can check out the book here.