In a uniquely mom-driven campaign, farm women from across the country are talking to other women about food production, food safety and farm life. Iowa is a pilot state for "CommonGround," a joint project of the National Corn Growers Association and the United Soybean Board that showcases what farm families and the consumers of the food they grow have in common.
The Iowa Corn Growers Association and Iowa Soybean Association are working together to coordinate the pilot project.
Iowa's three volunteer spokeswomen are Suzanne Shirbroun from Northeast Iowa, Jill Vander Veen of Northwest Iowa and Sara Ross of Southwest Iowa.
The Iowa outreach effort officially launched Saturday, Feb. 5, at West Lakes Hy-Vee in West Des Moines. The farm women talked to shoppers and answered questions about today's food production.
Outreach uses social media, grocery store promotions and more
"We were asked very diverse questions by shoppers at our launch, and I'm impressed by the knowledge consumers have about their food, and their willingness to take a few moments from their day to ask questions," says Shirbroun. Each of Iowa's spokeswomen will develop their own outreach program in their area of the state that will include social media, grocery store promotions, speaking to civic organizations and other events.
"The goal of the program is to share the message that, thanks to today's American farmers like us, consumers enjoy the safest, healthiest and most affordable food choices in the world," says Vander Veen.
"There is information reaching the consumer, but it's not always the whole story and farmers are concerned about that," says Ross. "We're not out to change anyone's mind about the food they eat, but we do want consumers to know the food we grow is safe."
Iowa is one of five states that are participating in this project
The other pilot states are Nebraska, South Dakota, Kentucky and Indiana. For more information about Iowa's CommonGround project, visit http://findourcommonground.com/
The Iowa Soybean Association develops policies and programs that help farmers expand profit opportunities while promoting environmentally sensitive production using the soybean checkoff and other resources. The ISA is governed by an elected volunteer board of 21 farmers. www.iasoybeans.com.
Iowa Corn includes the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and the Iowa Corn Growers Association working jointly to create opportunities for Iowa Corn grower profitability. ICPB directs the investment of Iowa corn check-off funds to develop and defend markets, fund research, and provide education about corn and corn products. ICGA is a membership organization, lobbying on agricultural issues on behalf of its over 6,500 farmer members. www.iowacorn.org.