The recent BSE scare, misconceptions about the safety of genetically modified food and the lean finely textured beef smear campaign that ultimately forced Beef Products Inc. (a major LFTB producer) to permanently close three of its four plants shine a spotlight on the need for commodity producers to take the reins in educating consumers about the safety of their product.
In honor of Mother's Day, I am using this post as a platform for commending women who have worked to dispel myths about the food they grow and to build trust in farm families once again via their personal stories of their life on the farm. This is the goal of CommonGround Kansas, a national movement of farm women who "want to share information about farming and the food we grow."
The group's volunteers emphasize "we don't tell folks what to eat or not to eat. Those decisions are solely yours." Rather, they make themselves readily accessible for answering consumer questions about food, drawing upon their experience as farm women and mothers.
The volunteers offer many avenues for consumers to connect with them and gain a peek into their lives, including channels such as Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, YouTube and personal blogs. Following are the volunteers' bios along with links to learn more about these amazing farm women.
Teresa Brandenburg -Alton, KS
Teresa grew up in a small town in Iowa where her dad drove a truck hauling farm commodities. Teresa started raising livestock with her family when she was 10. Now, she and her husband, Luke, are the fourth generation on his family's farm in Alton, Kansas. Learn more about Teresa.
Lori Deyoe -Ulysses, KS
Farming is Lori's heritage from several generations back on both sides of her family, and her work has always reflected that. She is a farmer's daughter, the wife of a cattleman and mom to two children. Lori does accounting and coordinates logistics for their small beef feed yard. Learn more about Lori.
Karra James -Clay Center, KS
Karra and her husband, Derek, farm with his parents near Clay Center, Kansas. With a degree in food science and experience working the food safety field, she is passionate about discussing agriculture and teaches agriculture education sessions in area schools. Learn more about Karra.
Nicole Small -Fredonia, KS
As sixth-generation farmers and ranchers, Nicole Small and her husband Randy have taken over their families' farming operations in southeast Kansas. They raise corn, soybeans and wheat. They also raise cows and calves on native grass. Learn more about Nicole.
LaVell Winsor -Grantville, KS
LaVell lives and farms in Grantville, Kansas, with her husband, Andy, and their two sons. She helps with merchandising and management of grain sales and farm financial records. She also is employed off-the-farm with a consulting service that provides farmers with business recommendations and risk-management tools. Learn more about LaVell.