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Posted 02.06.15
Posted 01.30.15

CommonGround - We All Fit In Here

Iowa Corn is proud to partner with the Iowa Soybean Association, United Soybean Board and National Corn Growers Association on CommonGround.  

CommonGround is all about starting a conversation between women who grow food, and the women who buy it. It’s a conversation based personal experiences as farmers, but also on science and research. The first goal is to help consumers understand that their food is not grown by a factory. It’s grown by people and it’s important to us that you understand and trust the process. We hope you’ll join in the conversation.

To learn more about the national program, please visit

Meet Iowa's CommonGround Volunteers


Sara Ross

Sara farms with her husband, Kevin, near Minden, Iowa.  Sara uses her blog to share her everyday life on the farm with anyone wanting more information about how their food gets to the table.

Click here to learn more.


Cristen Clark

Cristen and her husband grow corn, soybeans, alfalfa and raise cattle. They also own a hog finishing operation. Cristen grew up in a rural farming community in Iowa.

Click here to learn more.


Katie Olthoff

Katie and her husband Bart, raise turkeys near Stanhope.  Katie realizes that more and more people are worried about how your food is produced. And while more people are worried, fewer and fewer have a direct link to a farm where that food is produced, and that is why she volunteered for CommonGround.

Click here to learn more.


Stephanie Essick

Stephanie farms with her dad near Dickens, Iowa.  Stephanie is excited to connect with consumers on how their food is produced on her farm. 

Click here to learn more.


Jill VanderVeen

Jill farms with her husband, Roger, near Hartley, Iowa. Jill joined the CommonGround™ Iowa program as a volunteer in 2011 and feels that it serves as an excellent way for the farming community to reach out to consumers to talk about food and farming. 

Click here to learn more.


Suzanne Shirbroun

Suzanne and her husband, Joe, farm on the same land that her ancestors started farming 133 years ago in Farmersburg, Iowa. They raise soybeans and corn for both food and fuel in addition to managing a Pioneer Hi-Bred seed dealership and a seed-treatment business.

Click here to learn more.


Nicole Yoder

Nicole is a young farmer who farms in Leon County. Nicole understands the importance of getting the agriculture message out to young Moms who may question the food they feed to their families everyday! One message she has is, "Don't Fear Your Food" because we too eat the food that we raise!  

Click here to learn more.


Julie Kenney

Julie and her husband Mark farm near Nevada. Julie is a wife and mother who is excited to tell her story on the safety of food that her family grows and the passion they take in eating the food they grow.  

Click here to learn more.


Valerie Plagge

Valerie and her husband grow corn and soybeans in Franklin County. Even though she leads a busy life she enjoys telling the story about the importance of agriculture.   

Click here to learn more.


Kellie Blair

Kellie and her husband AJ grow corn, soybeans and feed dairy heifers and raise finishing hogs.  Kellie is excited to connect with Moms and explain how food is grown and raised on her family farm. 

Click here to learn more.


Julie Van Manen

Julie and her husband grow corn, soybeans and purchase holstein bull calves at birth and feed them to market weight. They also raise hogs. Julie understands the importance of agriculture after living and working on the farm and enjoys telling her story to consumers and Moms who feed their children everyday!  

Click here to learn more.


Shannon Latham

Shannon and her husband, John, manage 20 acres consisting of pasture, alfalfa and row crop (corn-pumpkin rotation) farm near Sheffield. Shannon is passionate about helping people understand how their food is raised, dispel myths and calm fears.

Click here to learn more.


Emily Cook

Emily is a young farm wife who enjoys the opportunities that farm life has to offer. Her family grows corn and soybeans and she enjoys taking to consumers about the importance of Iowa grown products.

Click here to learn more.

Jan Stillman

Jan is a fourth generation farmer who grows corn and soybeans. Jan is excited to teach consumers about the importance of agriculture and conservation practices that they use on their farms.

Click here to learn more.

































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