Nov 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is the time of year to remember wheat we are thankful for, and here are some things for which I am THANKFUL.



To all the people who are school teachers and all the people who are just full of knowledge, you have taught me so very much about life. I am grateful for having such awesome people around me that can teach me so many things.



I have learned this is such a precious gift.  I am grateful that I have a healthy family.



Our #1 Industry and includes some of the best people and friends. I am thankful for food and my farmers.



At the end of the day, I have learned this year to sit down, even if only for a second, and reflect on my day. I think when you become a mom you especially appreciate this time of day amid the hecticness of life.



I love the kitchen. Food, family and friends gather and it is the perfect hang out!



The people that drive you nuts but tell you what you need to hear. I have some pretty fantastic people I am glad to call family, and friends who have become family.



No day is ever the same in my life. Not knowing what is going to happen used to be something that would drive me nuts. Now I love that I have so much variation to my day. You just never know what could happen. It certainly keeps life interesting and never dull.



Something I am consistently doing I am always soaking in new information.  Learning is what makes life interesting.

Nov 6, 2013

Blooms in the Hilltop Dessert

Lessons from a little Hilltop farm

When I hear the word "Hilltop" I think of a gassy pasture that has animals grazing on a hill. This is hardly what the Hilltop community actually looks like located south of West Broad Street at the corner of Highland Avenue and Floral Avenue in a struggling part of the Columbus. I recently got to visit the Hilltop to speak at the Highland Elementary and the J. Ashburn Jr. Youth Center.

Back in 2009, many community centers were being closed across Columbus due to lack of funding. These centers served as after school programs for many youth, a safe place to grow and learn and a common place for community members to go and feel safe. Columbus is a great city, but let’s face it, in every large city there is crime and poverty. In a meeting at the Hilltop Lutheran Church, a group of concerned citizens gathered to discuss what could be done to promote growth of the youth in the Hilltop community, since the community centers were no longer available for the children. Out of this meeting the dream of the Highland Youth Garden was put into action. This large garden area includes areas of irrigated crop production, raised beds where crops are planted “by color,” a high tunnel (green house), an herb garden, a butterfly garden, and a native plant area. Each provides special teaching and learning opportunities.

The majority of children in the nearby schools and in the community live in poverty. Most of the youth receive free or reduced lunches. For many, English is a second language. This area is also referred to as a food desert due to the lack of grocery stores in the community. Fresh vegetables and fruit simply are not available unless the children receive them in their school lunches or their parents or guardians have access to transportation to travel outside the neighborhood to shop in grocery stores.

In 2013, the youth planted vegetables, herbs, flowers, and six fruit trees. The crops included corn, mustard greens, beets, onions, cucumbers, potatoes, turnips, eggplant, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, potatoes, sweet potatoes, a wide variety of tomatoes and peppers, and several other vegetables. Approximately 25 percent of the garden is dedicated to raising food for the local food pantry and for residents that are not able to do the physical work in the garden. The children and volunteers have delivered the produce to the pantry to share what they have grown with people in their community. Two canning classes have been offered each year to help families learn how to preserve food from the garden. With the help of Strader’s Nursery, the Highland Youth Garden also assisted the broader community by sharing over 3,000 flats of vegetables, fruit plants, herbs and flowers with other community gardens, with neighbors for their own gardens, and with youth who are participating in the garden. The garden is now recognized as one of Franklin County’s 12 Hub Gardens, each of which is a resource that is being leveraged to teach and start other gardens in the city.

I was invited to visit with many of the school students who have teachers and a principle who value a hands-on approach to gardening and food. I was more than excited to see how the teachers and staff really value this garden and allow class time for their students to participate. I have always said almost every life lesson can be learned on a farm. For these children, this is about as close to a farm as they will ever get. This outdoor garden and learning center not only teaches them about science and food but about respect, responsibility and rewards.

The children that I met had so many questions for me about food and farming. They had no idea what agriculture was and seemed very excited to meet a farmer. Kids say the darndest things! Some of my favorites were:

“I didn't know that there were girl farmers.”

“You are too pretty to be a farmer.”

“Can you drive a tractor?” 

“Where are your bib overalls?”

My take home message in a nutshell was that there are children living with very little close to our farms that have no idea where their food comes from or what agriculture is about. There are volunteers who are willing to donate countless hours for children and create gardens to help educate the youth about food and making healthy food choices. They need help from people in agriculture to share what we do on the farm and how they too are a part of the food production cycle. It was such an honor to be invited to their garden and listen and watch the children. Their eyes are so full of hope and excitement. They seemed eager to learn and content, yet they have so little. Visiting the garden for just a few hours really got me excited and charged up to go out and do great things. I think that every adult (rural or urban) can learn from these children, and their little farm on the Hilltop.

Oct 28, 2013

Bob Evans Bathroom Blunder

After church we went to Bob Evans for a little lunch or as the kids say: to eat the "little farmers breakfast." Campbell and I decided to visit the ladies bathroom. I looked at the sign and charged right into the bathroom. I opened the door and I saw a man washing his hands.  He glanced at me and read the embarrassment on my face and half smiled. I backed out of restroom looked at the sign again  and it said "Women’s." Campbell had to go to the bathroom so I opened the door again and entered the woman’s restroom that had a man in it. Campbell was not sure what in the world was going on. I said hello (kind of awkward I must admit) he still was not sure what I was doing in the Men’s restroom. Campbell whispered, "Why is there a man in here?" I told her I was not sure but it was probably an accident.

The poor man finally figured that he was in the wrong restroom. He laughed, I laughed and he quickly exited. When I left the ladies room, I walked out and he was still waiting to be seated laughing with a face a red as could be.

I think we have all accidentally entered the wrong bathroom at one time or another. The last time I did that was back in 2000 when I was the Ohio Lamb and Wool Queen speaking at a banquet in Union County. I was wearing my crown and sash and was the speaker at the dinner. I walked in on four little boys who squealed. Then when I got up to speak at the banquet one of them said very loudly, "that is the lady who uses the boys bathroom."

I am just glad Campbell did not point out the nice gentleman who accidentally read the sign wrong at Bob Evans!

Oct 25, 2013

Campbell's Cans and Parkers Puppies

Raising kids is not easy task. Just when you think you have it down pat, they go and pull the wool over your eyes. Raising a little lady and a rough and tough boy are completely opposite. We have great days and some not great days. Just when you think you have raised little monsters, you see a glimmer of what you thought you have been teaching them all along when they go and do something so thoughtful.

We have tried to make sure our kids are very aware of where their food comes from and provide them with many hands-on experiences, even at their young ages of 6 and 4. The kids enjoy gardening and even trips to the local food pantry delivering their produce for those less fortunate than us. As a mom I deal with food every day. We raise food, sell food and cook with food. Campbell and Parker know where food comes from, but I also want them to value what an abundant food supply we are blessed to have. We raise food and what we do not raise we have the means to go to the grocery and buy what we would like to eat. If we want to have turkey burgers for dinner we put it on the grocery list (which I never remember to take with me) and next trip get turkey burgers.

A friend (Kara McCarthy) posted something online that really made me think with the upcoming holidays rapidly approaching. She raised the question “Have you ever been so hungry that you could not sleep?” I have said many times I am starving and I listen to the kids say how hungry or thirsty they are about 5 times a day. I cannot recall ever being so hungry I could not sleep. I am grateful that I have not had that hunger and I never want my children to experience that either, but I know it is out there. While we are blessed with a roof over our heads and a freezer and pantry full of healthful foods, there are many who do not have that luxury.

While some of us are worrying about eating non-GM crops or Organic foods, there are some who just want food. I heard a great quote on a recent trip from a biotech researcher: “I want a 'What will we have for dinner?' society, not a 'Will we have dinner?' society.” By doing research and involving GM crops as a part of becoming a more sustainable country, I truly believe we can work towards eliminating hunger, be more naturally resourceful and provide a safe food for our families and food for our animals.

We talked  with our kids about other little children who truly experience real hunger. The kids came up with the idea that we would challenge our friends and family to donate and volunteer at a local pantry, shelter or find a family in need for the months of  November and December.

Campbell loves to cook so she will be donating to the food pantry and Parker loves his puppies so he will be donating to the local animal shelter.

Many already make donations or volunteer. If you do not already do so, think about involving your children, family and friends and give back to those who need it.

Oct 23, 2013

My World View: One thing we all have in common

What does food mean to you?
To me food is a celebration of friends and family who worked hard to not only cook the food but the rugged hands that grew the ingredients too. When I go to bed at night I usually fall asleep to a foodie website or a stack of food magazines that I am reading to get ideas, mark recipes and learn about new techniques I want to try. I have food on the brain all the time. I am constantly thinking of new ways to make food better or new ways that will be fun and healthful for my family and customers. I love to cook and eat! Someone asked me if I ever get tired of cooking. My answer was, "Not really." Cooking is the one area that I can go full force and experiment try new things without any worries. Have a tough day...I go home and bake away! The worse case is that the chickens will eat one of my inventions if it turns out terrible (not that this happens often but it does happen occasionally).

There was one time when I made this beautiful pumpkin roll and sent into Matt's office. I nearly poisoned Bart Johnson publisher of Ohio's Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net with fermented pumpkin roll...turned out not to be such a good recipe, or I just didn't follow it correctly!

I have had many food conversations with friends and total strangers and I am always learning something new. Some have the passion for food much like I do, but have no connection to where their food comes from other than the grocery. Others hate the thought of food because food costs money and that can be the cause of stress. There are so many options, cost differences and confusion over what is best and safe for their diets or families.  I happen to have the great privilege of being to my rural roots and our farming community. Over my journey, I have had the opportunity to meet some pretty amazing farmers from across the country and world. I have never met a farmer who does not love their job of growing a safe healthy food product. We raise crops and livestock because we value our food system and where our crops end up which is on our very own tables.

I want to say that no matter what food choices you make for you or your family, whether it is Local, Vegetarian, GMO Free, Free Range or just normal food from your grocery, you can feel confident in the safety of our food system and the care of farmer who had a hand in raising it. We are blessed to have SO many food options. There are countries where children are starving, food and water are no where to be found, yet we find it so easy to condemn a certain production practice or personal preference when we are so fortunate to even have food.  When I think of all the choices we have it makes me very proud to be part of the farming community that can provide ample safe affordable food supply.

No one should ever be ashamed or guilted into a food lifestyle. Respect people and the decisions that they make. While your opinion may differ, at least we have food and choices.

This is a recipe that has had many requests. For all you Bacon Lovers out there this recipe is for you!

Jul 16, 2013

Going to the Dark Side

This story goes all the way back to 1992 when our family took a trip to visit relatives in California. We stayed with my Great Aunt Beryl who lived on an avocado grove. It was a beautiful place to visit. We made so many memories but I also started a habit while visiting. Each morning my Aunt would wait on us hand and foot. She had a breakfast buffet each morning that was better than a restaurant. She offered juices, milk, teas and coffee. It was in her dining room I tasted coffee for the very first time. My parents both avid coffee drinkers always said “don’t drink coffee it will stunt your growth.” Aunt Burl offered me coffee in a fancy little tea cup with a saucer. I looked at my parents then looked at my aunt and she said “it won’t stunt your growth honey don’t worry.” She gave me cream and 1 lump of sugar. I loved the taste! I was a lot of cream and 1 lump of sugar kind of girl. My dad took cream in his coffee and my mom took her coffee black. At the time it was an easy decision, that black sludge needed some flavor.

For over two decades I took cream and sugar in my coffee.  About two years ago I stopped the sugar and indulged in those flavored creamers which was a heavenly taste. I think I was drinking more flavored cream than coffee. A little over a month ago I started the weaning off of my cream coffee habit. For no particular reason other than I realized I was developing an artificially flavored creamed habit and could avoid some unnecessary sugar in my diet. Slowly I went from full on flavored creamers to 4 creamers down to you guessed it no creamer. In one months’ time I became a Black coffee drinker much like my mother. I still get my morning caffeinated charge but without the sugar. Not saying I will never indulge in a little flavored cream in my coffee but I feel a little healthier about eating my morning doughnut since I skipped all that sugar from the creamer!

Jun 28, 2013

Snake in the grass

There are not many things that I am scared of, but a few weeks back while baling hay I got attacked by a dog and that was a fear I had never felt before. It was a terrifying completely-out-of-my-control situation that I never want to feel again. The only other thing that I could imagine making me feel that way is a snake. They give me the heeby-geebies on a grand scale. 

Growing up as a child I had a reoccurring dream about a black snake slithering up the laundry shoot from the basement into the bathroom and then into my bedroom. I just hate snakes.  Where I grew up we had a lot of black snakes. We would find their skins in our hay mow and around the barnyard. I never wanted to go up in the hay mow because I was afraid of the snakes. One night my dad told me to throw some hay down for the ewes. I was being a wimp and was whining about going up there because of snakes. My dad said, “I promise there are no snakes up there.” I climbed up the ladder and began tossing down the hay. It was hot and I was wearing shorts. I felt something cold on my ankle. I looked down and, wouldn’t you know it, there was a huge black snake on my leg. I screamed so loud and jumped so far I am lucky I did not jump right out of the mow.

Earlier this week, we were again making hay and while I was moving wagons, the kids found the front half of a snake out in the field. I try not to let my fears project onto the kids, but with snakes it is just hard for me to do. Campbell was touching it and I was grossed out. I was thinking with relief that I was glad that snake got chopped in half.

I continued to haul wagons and began to unload a wagon down the road from the hayfield. I was on the wagon tossing bales down to the guys. I was kind of joking about how light a bale was as I held it in one hand longer than usual before throwing it down. Little did I know that, hanging out of the bale when I threw it down at my friend, dangled the back half of the snake. He thought I knew it was in the bale and was not happy when I tossed it directly at him. Had I known there was a snake in the bale, I would not have been on that wagon let alone holding that bale. We quickly set that bale aside and finished unloading and stacking. It was later determined by another much less snake-weary party that it was only half a snake. What are the odds that out of acres and acres of hay we would end up finding both ends of the snake? The bottom line is that I am just glad there is one less snake on the farm.

Jun 19, 2013

The dog ate my eye lashes!

MAC eyelashes #36 just in case you want a matching pair!
I am by no means a girly girl or a trend setter. I do my best to keep in decent shape, dress within the decade and indulge in a little makeup. Several of my friends who are much more fashionable than me own fake eye lashes. They convinced me that I should give them a try. I purchased my first set of eye lashes from the MAC counter. I had no idea there were so many options for eye lashes. I went with a conservative length and thickness. There are some pretty dramatic lash options out there. What is really conservative about buying eye lashes…seems pretty crazy to me. It took me a little while to not feel like I had spiders on my eyes but by the end of the evening I was rocking those lashes.
This bouquet is just beautiful, it smells just as it looks!
My brother got married this past weekend and I decided to pull out the lashes to complete the hair and bridesmaid dress. It was a special occasion so it seemed perfectly natural to put on the fake eye lashes. After a long wedding day, I got home and removed my eye lashes. I placed them on the bathroom counter but somehow in the morning when I went to place them in the case and they were gone. I could not figure out who would have taken my eye lashes.  I found myself looking high and low yelling “have you seen my eye lashes?” My husband’s family was staying at our house and my desperate search for my eye lashes was entertaining I am sure.
About 15 minutes later my sister-in-law said “I thought I saw the dog with something in her mouth”. I heard some odd coughing and hacking coming from the dining room. I walked down stairs to find my crumbled up stuck together dog slobbered eye lashes. By this point my eye lashes really did look like a large spider. Let just face it this farm girl is not meant to wear fake eye lashes. I will stick with the more realistic all natural approach, at least until I have time to get to the MAC counter for a new pair.

Jun 18, 2013

Not your Kentucky Derby

In Ohio, when Summer arrives it is officially County Fair time. We live in Fairfield County and our fair just happens to be in Mid October and is the last of the County Fairs in Ohio (they save the best for last). As we await our fair, we usually try to go to a couple of other fairs around the state each summer.
This week the Pickaway County Fair kicked off and they have a Combine Derby. We decided to take the kids and visit our neighboring county for a little summer County Fair fun.
When I hear the word Derby, the Kentucky Derby immediatly comes to mind. The big hats, classic dresses and horses worth millions sounds like a ton of fun!  The Combine Derby is more like I imagine the infield of the Kentecky Derby is like but still a lot of fun in a way more relaxed redneck kind of way. Watching the combines smash each other, the loud screams from the fairgoers and people watching is always a grand time. Congrats to the winners who were from my home town in Fairfield County! This is a short clip in case you have never had the privilage to watch our kind of Derby! Maybe next year I will wear a big hat!

May 14, 2013

In the District

Last week I traveled to our Nation’sCapital with the American Sheep Industry on the Spring Legislative trip. I left Columbus with Roger High, the Executive Director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement and sightseer extraordinaire. We also met up with Susan Schultz, an Ohio Sheep producer who serves as a District representative on the American Sheep Industry Board.

Roger High is making sure we know
we are picking the right Metro line!
When Roger and I flew in to D.C., we bought our metro pass and set out on a day full of site seeing. We walked at least 10 miles and at the end of the day my feet were a disaster. I wore good shoes for the trek, but those shoes simply were not meant to keep up with Roger High and his tour of the District. I have run a marathon and my feet looked nothing like they did after a day hitting the pavement with Roger.

The rest of the week was spent with Sheep producers from across the country and our legislators on the Hill. Meeting with the staffers, Congressmen and Senators was very exciting. We talked about Immigration, the farm bill, scrapie program and Roger High's favorite — Wildlife services! We had over 13 appointments to talk about what we do here in Ohio and how important their support is of Ohio’s #1 industry, agriculture.

I learned so much on this trip, but it was not on the Hill that I gained so much insight on our sheep industry. After our hectic days, we met up with sheep producers from across the country and talked sheep shop. I made new friends from Maine to Oregon and many western states in between.  Ohio is the largest sheep state east of the Mississippi River but we are a small sheep state compared to the states out West. They run multiple bands of sheep across their land and BLM ground (bureau of land management). A band consists of around 1,000 sheep. Western  practices are so different from ours and what real sheep production is all about.  Without these families, our sheep industry would cease to exist. 
Myself, Roger High, Bob Gibbs and Susan Schultz in
Rep. Gibbs office.

We do not deal too much in Ohio with immigration in the sheep business, but out west their livelihood depends on immigrants (mainly from Peru) as herders or real life shepherds living in the mountains protecting and caring for the sheep. Wildlife Services is also another crucial component. In Ohio, we have coyotes which need to be controlled and we need the help of WLS to help us keep our loses minimal. Out west, WLF conducts Spring Cleans where they fly overhead in an airplane to eliminate the coyotes. Not only do the coyotes kill the ewes but they kill off the lambs and in the thousands of head (1 sheep is a head) in one year's time. These western farmers and ranchers have to factor in loss to predation in their production practices which must to be a horrible feeling but reality. In Ohio the loss of one animal is devastating, but to the guys out west that would be a blessing. 

Due to legislation like the farm bill, we are able to fund research centers to work on eliminating sheep diseases such as scrapie. While this disease is near eradication, we as producers want to see this disease eliminated for the betterment of our industry. USDA researchers and veterinarians are working diligently to put programs in place to track and eliminate this from the United States. In Ohio, we are very fortunate to have one of the best plans of action in place to stop the spread of scrapie.
Under Secretary Avalos and Elvis his right hand man were kind
enough to allow us a photo op.

One of the highlights of the trip for me was attending a lamb BBQ with many people in the sheep industry and our legislators. This was held at a boat club on the Potomac River. I had the opportunity to talk with Edward Avalos, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at USDA, and his head staff member Elvis about what involvement I have to agriculture. I also met Dr. John Clifford, Deputy Administrator for Veterinary Services, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. He has family ties to Ohio just a few miles from where I live.
 I was very impressed with their actual interest in what we as farmers and people in agriculture are encountering on a daily basis. While I do not agree with some things that go on in Washington, I was reminded how important it is for us to communicate and voice our concerns about important issues. In each appointment, it was reinforced how much an e-mail or letter means to your Congressman or Senator. Let them know your thoughts and concerns they are to represent we the people and if we stand idle they may make a decision based on lack of information.

We were able to leave a pair of woolsocks made with wool from U.S. sheep producers and made in the USA with each of our legislative visits. Of course, we got this approved by the Ethics committee and apparently wool socks are allowed.  At the Lamb BBQ they had some extra socks so Roger Susan and I were more than excited to bring back to Ohio some comfy wool socks. I was about to break out the black wool socks and wear them on the Hill with my heels due to my aching blistered feet. Next time, I will be prepared. 
Also met with the Senate Ag committee staff. If you notice a familiar Ohio
face you would be correct. Center right is Joe Schultz economist for the Ag Committee.



May 10, 2013

Corn and Beans

JD tractor and a Kinze 32 row planter
I have a list of things that I want to do each year. If you saw my list you would probably think I was a bit strange. A few of the things I want to do this year revolve around row crop farming:
1. Learn to drive a Semi (I hope to do this in the fall)

2. Run the Turbo till tillage implement (completed this spring)

3. Plant Corn and Soybeans (I planted beans late last month)

Close up of the soybean planter, this can also be adjusted for corn as well.
I have been in many tractors, but there is something about planting and harvesting a crop that is really fascinating. I could do it full time if I could find a sucker to let me drive their tractors, but I think they would have to be pretty desperate.  Working the soil, treating the weeds and planting the crop seems pretty simple, but there is an art to driving equipment with all this great technology.

This hopper wagon is full of Becks Liberty Link  beans to refill planter.
Driving a tractor is one thing, but when you add in auto steer, irregular field shapes, night tilling, waterways and lining up your rows perfectly, there are a lot of things to remember. When you see those guys out in the field rolling right along, let me tell you, it is harder than it looks. They really know what they are doing and I am pretty sure I am not going to get hired to work ground or plant beans any time soon. It would take me 20 times longer to do the job and probably not to their perfection either. I’d better stick with occasionally making a meal for the local farmers so they will let me drive the tractor every once in a while. I think I have that pretty down pat.

Planting corn, view from the tractor cab. Big tank holds Nitrogen
that is released when seed is planted.
Even though we do not plant corn or soybeans on our small farm, our animals consume a lot of corn and beans. Animal production in Ohio has a direct link to what row crop farmers are doing. The production of their product affects the price and supply of what I feed to my animals.

Just like with anything you do in life, practice makes perfect when planting soybeans. I think that farmers are always learning how to do their jobs better and more efficiently, but I also think farmers are born with the drive, passion and know-how to do what they do. Farmers work round the clock to get the work done, some working 20-hour days to get ahead of the weather. I know when I spend a little time talking with my crop farmer friends I am extremely grateful that they do what they do! Please remember to be careful when you see equipment on the roads and instead of passing them in a hurry give them a beep and a friendly wave to show them how much you appreciate what they are doing.

Apr 25, 2013

Know GMOs

What do you think when you hear GMO? According to a recent survey of over 1,000 moms, nearly half – 43 percent – of those surveyed believe that GMO food is nutritionally and chemically different than non-GMO food.

The World Health Organization defines genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. It allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another. Such methods are used to create GMO plants – which result in GMO food crops. This technology is called biotechnology. 

U.S. commercially grown genetically modified crops include corn, soybean, cotton, canola, sugar beets, papaya, squash, and alfalfa. In addition, small amounts of GE tomatoes and sweet peppers are grown in China. In terms of our diets, Most of the GM crops that are consumed for food are used in making processed food ingredients included in cereals, soy cooking oil (vegetable oil) and other types of processed food products that contain soy or corn ingredients. In other words, if you see corn or soy ingredients included on the food label, chances are the product was partially made with GM-crop ingredients.

Farmers and gardeners have been creating plant hybrids for as long as they’ve been growing plants. Biotechnology simply serves as a more technologically advanced or controlled method. USDA says that, while particular biotech traits may be new to certain crops, the same basic types of traits are often found naturally in plants and allow them to survive and evolve. This is really nothing new, we are just able to use the traits that can help us to have a more successful harvest.

The soybeans have a herbicide resistant gene in them that was derived from bacteria and corn has Bt genes that allow it to resist pests along with the resistance to herbicides. Bt is a naturally occurring plant pesticide found in other plants and is approved for use in organic agricultural production.

The use of these crops greatly reduces the amount of insecticide required to control the corn borer and the corn rootworm and also allows for improved weed control with reduced herbicide use. This allows farmers to produce more with less, a vital progression as we move forward with the need to feed a growing world population.

We want what is best for our families and I am the first to say you should have questions and concerns about your food.

All GMO foods are exhaustively assessed for safety by groups like the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  In the almost 20 years that modern biotech crops have been commercially grown, there has not been a single documented case of an ecosystem disrupted or a person made ill.  GMO foods are nutritionally and chemically identical to food grown from non-biotech crops.

And, ultimately, GM crops can help to provide an increasingly important role in maximizing global land use, addressing world hunger, nutrition deficiencies and poverty issues and reducing agriculture’s environmental footprint.

Apr 9, 2013

Reaching out to 800,000 Consumers

April 2013
Clicking on attached links will in some instances take you away from USB-funded information.


It's amazing what one morning in a TV studio can do. Two CommonGround volunteers recently appeared on 25 television, radio and blog outlets, informing consumers in major media markets such as Boston, Detroit and Minneapolis about the truth behind today's agriculture.
Kristin Reese, from CommonGround Ohio, and LaVell Winsor, of CommonGround Kansas, settled into a St. Louis TV set starting at 7 a.m., and gracefully handled interviews, many of them on live TV shows, for the next four hours. They answered questions about everything from organic food to GMO food safety, and took every opportunity to talk about the values and care that America's farmers bring to the country's food supply.
While most of the interviews were friendly and informative, a live TV interview on WJBK in Detroit presented a challenge. The reporter presented a sensational picture of GMO foods by playing a clip about research conducted on biotech foods from a naturopathic doctor. Reese and Winsor were prepared with the facts. They cited the fact that groups such as the World Health Organization say that no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of biotech foods. They also discussed the benefits of biotechnology for food security and the environment.
Reese and Winsor opened the barn doors, offering themselves and their fellow CommonGround volunteers as a resource for consumers. As Winsor stated a number of times in her interviews, most Americans are two or three generations removed from farming, so naturally they have questions and concerns about how their food is grown and raised.
CommonGround volunteers work to build trust in agriculture by having open conversations and sharing the true story of today's farming. Thanks to support from America's soybean and corn farmers through their checkoffs, they've reached millions of consumers with their stories and the facts. Sixteen states participate in the grassroots CommonGround movement, with 85 volunteer spokeswomen. Because of the passion of these farm women to reach urban consumers with the truth, CommonGround continues to grow.
To view available interviews, click on the links below.
WPMT-TV (Fox, Harrisburg, Pa.)
KGWN-TV (CBS, Cheyenne, Wyo.)
KIMT-TV (CBS, Rochester, Minn. / Mason City, Iowa)