(Posted Thu. Sep 4th, 2014)

Today, CommonGround volunteers took the story of American farming, their story, to people across the country through a series of interviews with television and radio stations. Answering questions focused on GMOs and the use of biotechnology in agriculture, Julie Kenney of Iowa, Kristin Reese of Ohio, Jennifer Schmidt of Maryland and Kristina Sutton of Missouri opened the barn doors, offering themselves and their fellow CommonGround volunteers as a resource for consumers with questions about where their food comes from and how it is grown.


“It is natural for people who aren’t involved in the raising or growing of their food to have questions about how that is done,” said Reese. “What I want to do, along with my fellow volunteers, is start a conversation with people who have these types of questions so that we can share and learn from one another. No one should have to fear their food, but if someone has concerns, we are there to share our experience as farmers.”


Over the course of the morning, the four women took part in 18 interviews, both live and taped, which will reach a national audience through both television and radio.


As labeling initiatives have drawn media attention, consumer interest in the safety and environmental impact of GMOs has also risen.  Volunteers answered many common questions, explaining crops from commercially available GMO seeds are more studied and better understood than any other products on the market.


“On average, it costs $136 million and 13 years to bring one GMO seed to market because of the research and safety testing that goes into the process,” Schmidt, who is also a registered dietitian, explained.  “No other agricultural products can make this claim – or have been studied for safety at this level. Each and every genetically improved plant is examined for potential health risks, with the FDA concluding that they provide the same nutritional value and are indistinguishable from the products of other breeding methods. In the years that farmers have grown crops from genetically engineered seeds, there has not been a single verified instance of harm to human health, from the trillions of meals consumed.”


In response to a question about the growing popularity of organic foods, Reese explained that “CommonGround volunteers include farmers who use both traditional and organic methods, and we truly support the ability to choose the foods they feel best for their family. While we embrace the diversity of agriculture, we do want to offer information about how all kinds of food are grown so that shoppers can make the best choices for their unique family based on solid information. Whether organic or traditionally grown, America’s farmers grow and raise an array of healthy, nutritious foods that consumers can feel confident about feeding their families.”


Many of the stations involved in this tour aired the interviews live, but quite a few others taped the segments to run over the coming weeks. Interviews will air in: Huntsville, AL; Hartford, CT; Chicago, IL;  Peoria, IL; Rockford, IL; Gainesville, Ocala, FL; Honolulu, HI; Minneapolis, MN; Kansas City, MO; Albuquerque, NM; Greensboro, NC; Dayton, OH; Toledo, OH; Harrisburg, PA; Rapid City, SD; Austin, TX; Roanoke, VA; and Casper, WY, as well as regional outlets in Virginia and central Texas. Additionally, interviews will be taped with Clear Channel Radio/Metro Networks, which reaches a national audience of more than two million, and for Fox News Edge’s national feed.


Video from these interviews will be posted to the National Corn Growers Association’s website as available.


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

Have another question about your food? Find CommonGround online at