(Posted Wed. Aug 2nd, 2017)
Today, growers from across the Corn Belt wrapped up a conference in St. Louis where they shared ideas and practiced effective communications techniques. This group, which included female farmers and association staff from nearly 20 states, listened to presentations by industry experts and participated in workshops designed to improve presentation skills and social media presence.
This national conference, which looked back at both the program’s nearly seven years of activity and forward into the future, brought together both those who have volunteered tirelessly for years and fresh faces, including newly launched state-level programs in Arkansas, Illinois and Georgia. Together, a record number of attendees collaborated to elevate communications centered upon the CommonGround philosophy, which stresses the importance of grassroots activism, positive messaging and opening an honest, personal, empathetic dialogue with consumers about food production and the story of modern agriculture.
Guest speakers included Center for Food Integrity Vice President Roxi Beck, American Seed Trade Association Director of Communications Bethany Shively and National Pork Board Director of Public Relations Claire Masker. Sharing their insight and expertise, these speakers highlighted important, timely shifts in conversations around gene editing, animal welfare and antibiotic use in livestock. Using an approach based in common values and shared experiences, the volunteers and staff enthusiastically took part in conversations that helped them better understand consumers’ points of view and find common ground in which we can base these important conversations.
The conference offered participants a chance to share their experiences, with over 120 state events over the past year. Since it began nearly seven years ago, CommonGround has grown its grass roots to more than 200 volunteers and over one billion conversations with consumers
During the meeting, CommonGround launched a new video addressing consumer concerns about water titled “Straight from the Source.” To watch, click here.
CommonGround is a joint program of the National Corn Growers Association, the United Soybean Board and their state affiliates. Through the work of farm women volunteers, CommonGround connects women on and off the farm for conversations about how food is grown and raised so that everyone can enjoy food without the fear.
The program focuses on nine areas of interest to consumers including: farm ownership; GMOs; food safety; antibiotics and animal health; hormones in meat and milk; organic and local foods; food prices; and sustainability. Next year, the program will begin discussing a tenth topic- plant breeding innovations such as gene editing.
Want to join the CommonGround conversation? Stay tuned for updates and what you can do to help. To find out more, visit www.findourcommonground.com.