Volunteer women farmers involved in the CommonGround program, along with state and national staff, met in Austin, Texas, to share their experiences with the program and welcome new members this week.  Over the course of three days, the participants worked intensively on the tools that they use to share their personal story and that of modern farming with urban and suburban moms through sessions on social media, public speaking and interview skills. 

Through a series of presentations from representatives of affiliated agricultural groups, such as the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, attendees explored a wide array of subjects including the most prevalent consumer attitudes toward agriculture and the most effective ways to share their story with a broader audience.

"Spending time with the other volunteers motivates me to push myself toward greater goals and reenergizes my efforts," said CommonGround volunteer Sara Ross, who farms in Iowa.  "Each of us genuinely wants to open conversations with consumers, with moms just like us, who have real, valid concerns about feeding their families. The summit helps us hone our skills, focus on our core values and connect with people who share our passion."

Support for their efforts was reinforced through presentations from National Corn Growers Association Past President Pam Johnson and United Soybean Board Director serving as Communications Target Area Coordinator Nancy Kavazanjian, who also chairs USFRA.

The conference offered both the volunteers and staff a chance to share insight into their CommonGround experiences over the past year, during which the involved states hosted more than 100 state events and grew to include more than 130 volunteers, CommonGround continued to grow its grassroots network.  Since it began more than four years ago, CommonGround has sparked more than 620 million conversations with consumers.

For the first time, volunteers from states without active corn or soy associations joined the program and shared their knowledge of consumer attitudes and situations on the coasts.

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 they everyone can enjoy food without the fear.

 Want to join the CommonGround conversation? Stay tuned for updates and what you can to help. To find out more, visit www.findourcommonground.com.