(Shannon) I’m Shannon Krueger and I am the Coordinator for Common Ground Kansas. And it’s a national program. We started several years ago in about 16 states. We’re expanding this year, actually adding some additional states and getting some other volunteers to help support what we’re doing. We are primarily focused on connecting with consumers who might be several generations removed from agriculture. Maybe they had a grandparent, or neighbor or family friend but they haven’t been on a farm for a while and they are kind of disconnected with what’s happening with modern farming. And so our volunteers are all women. They go out and they visit with consumers about what their concerns are, everything from GMO’s to antibiotics, hormones, family farms, organic local, food movements. And we really try to help show what’s happening on American farms. Today we’re
just wrapping up the Common Ground Kansas Farm Tour. We had some folks join us to take a look at row crop production and beef cattle production. And just had some really great questions and had an opportunity to see farms first hand.(Kim) My name is Kim Baldwin, of Baldwin Farms located in McPherson County, Kansas. We were the first part of the farm tour today. We started out by talking about technology and the changes in technology through farm equipment and machinery, all the way to seed genetics. And
from there we also took a look at what a dry land field and a no- till
field looked like, before going on to a corn test plot to see the different varieties of corn that were being planted in a dry land environment. I was chosen to help out with the farm tour because I am a volunteer with Common Ground Kansas. I was asked to help out with Volunteer Kansas because I do some farm blogging with Alive and Well in Kansas, and tweeting and video blogging as well. And so, I like to share my stories from the farm with others. And so, through Alive and Well in Kansas I am able to do that, which then allows individuals to come out, like on farm tours today, and I am able to share a little bit more. (Shannon) Common Ground is driven by women just because we have a lot of strong women who are working on the farm, side by side with their husbands. It’s not just a man’s world any more. And further more we know that a lot of the folks who are making the food purchasing decisions are women in the households. And so it’s really easy for women to connect with other women, especially Moms, they kind of have a common ground, which is where our name comes from. Because they share a lot of the same values. And so for us to be able to talk with them and show that we’re farmers, we’re concerned, about producing a safer product for your family and ours. It really helps bridge that gap and helps build that credibility with the audience and then they start to look at us as a resource, to really be able to ask those questions as they see things in the media, see things online. And there’s always something new that we are told we need to be afraid of. And we just encourage folks to go out and make their own decisions, do the research and you know, look at all sides of the story. And talking to farmers first hand is part of that research. (Katie) Hi, my name is Katie Sawyer, my husband Derek and I farm outside of McPherson, Kansas. Derek is the fourth generation of his family to manage
the family farm. We have both dry land and irrigated acres, along with a cow herd. And we also background and feed Angus cattle. We were the second part of the Common Ground Kansas Tour that took place today. And we showed off a lot of the technologies that we’ve incorporated into the irrigated acres on our field. We now have subsurface drip irrigation which replaced outdated flood irrigation, so we talked about some of the efficiencies that come along with the new technologies and our ability to better meet the needs of our crops, as long as… as well as saving water and electrical inputs. And we also talked about soybeans and then we talked about the pivot irrigation system. We are able to walk out into a soybean field, look at the plants, look at how they grow and look at what they are going to continue to produce and then talk about pivot irrigation and how that irrigation meets the needs of a lot of our crops as well. (Shannon) I think it’s really important to get in touch with modern agriculture because there is a lot of very positive stories that are out there. They don’t necessarily get shared as often as they should. And our farmers today have really shown all the great things, the very progressive technology things that they are working with to help reduce our impact on the environment, produce safe products for consumers and really demonstrate the care and concern that farmers as a majority have for our industry, for our world. And consumers don’t always see that, so we’re really excited to be able to share that message. (Ross) Hello, I’m Ross Benish and this is the last stop at the Common Grounds Tour, here at MKC at our Groveland facility. And we showed them today a little bit of our elevator and talking to them about the grain coming in and out. We also talked to them a little bit about precision ag and some of the things we’re doing with that to optimize input efficiency and bushels per acre. Showed them our seed warehouse here and the seed treater and some things. And then we went down to our state-of- the-art agronomy center down there where we handle a lot of our agronomy acres and spraying and fertilizer needs. (Shannon) You can connect with Common Ground via our website. It’s findourcommonground.com. And we do have openings from time to time for additional volunteers so if you or another farm woman that you know is very passionate about talking to consumers about food and farming, you can get in touch with me via that website. Or our blog for Kansas is commongroundkansas.wordpress.com. We have several different social media accounts that we try to connect with consumers on those accounts and just try to share a little facts, information, info-graphics, videos, things that might be of interest to folks who have questions about food and farming.