(Posted Fri. Feb 15th, 2013)

Feb. 15:  This week, CommonGround took to the airwaves in Nebraska, participating in a series of interviews with radio and print outlets in the northeastern part of the state. The media tour, which covered areas close to Omaha, featured Dawn Kucera and Joan Ruskamp addressing topics from high fructose corn syrup to the animal care practices used by local ranchers.

“We think that it is important that the people who are buying food have a chance to ask questions of those of us who are raising it,” said Kucera. “Our state’s volunteer represent a broad variety of farmers and ranchers including pork and beef producers, organic farmers and conventional vegetable producers as well as corn and soybean farmers. Our goal in including so many types of producers is to answer all of the questions consumers might have and help dissolve some of the fears that comes from confusion.”

While meeting with the media, Kucera and Ruskamp found that consumers have a wide variety of questions about how their food is grown. The women, both ranchers, welcomed the inquiries and responded in an honest, open manner.

“As a cattle rancher who runs a feedlot, I saw the news stories and heard the public questioning if we, as an industry, cared about animal welfare, about our own animals,” said Ruskamp. “I know how much work and emotion that I put into caring for our cattle. I saw how the people around me treated their animals, and I thought about how these stories did not represent the reality as I saw it. So, I began volunteering with CommonGround three years ago, when the program first began. I want to talk with consumers and address their concerns so that they can feel confident about the work we do on our nation’s farms.”

Although the volunteers addressed a variety of topics, listeners took away one message that could help them answer all of the current and future questions about food and farming – please, ask us. By offering themselves and their fellow CommonGround volunteers as resources for an ongoing dialogue, the women provide a place for consumers with questions to go for answers from credible experts, the people who grow and raise our food, instead of a list of unverified results like those found when using Google.

To listen to the full interview with Kucera and Ruskamp that originally aired on Freemont radio Station HUB, click here.

CommonGround is a grass-roots movement to foster conversation among women — on farms and in cities — about where our food comes from. The United Soybean Board and the National Corn Growers Association developed CommonGround to give farm women the opportunity to engage with consumers through the use of a wide range of activities. USB and NCGA provide support and a platform for the volunteers to tell their stories.

Have another question about your food? Find CommonGround online: