Our Community

Love for the land, our families, our friends and our food – that’s what fuels our CommonGround community. Scroll down to learn where our volunteers are located, or Contact Us to get involved.

CommonGround Minnesota

Lauren Biegler

Lake Wilson, Minnesota

Our Farm: corn, soybeans

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: running, baking, cooking, traveling, spending time with my kids

Ask Me About: GMOs

About Me: Crop farming has been a large part of my life. I grew up on a farm, studied agriculture in college and have worked for several large agriculture businesses in sales and marketing roles. This gives me a broad knowledge of the entire industry — everything from production to the end sale.

Facebook: Lauren Sandell Biegler, CommonGround Minnesota

Mackenzie Clague

Chanhassen, Minnesota

Our Farm: alfalfa, corn, dairy cattle, oats, pigs, soybeans

My Work: farmer, full-time student

My Hobbies: reading, playing softball, riding horses, spending time with family

Ask Me About: animal welfare, selecting lactose-free foods

About Me: Ironically, even though I am involved with a dairy farm, I am moderately lactose-intolerant, which means I can no longer indulge in my favorite dairy product, ice cream. However, I still get my three servings of dairy a day through lactose-free milk and Greek yogurt. I hope to share with others, who are lactose-intolerant, how they can still enjoy dairy products.

Carol Davis

Albert Lea, Minnesota

Our Farm: sheep

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, occupational therapist

My Hobbies: arts and crafts, baking, reading

Ask Me About: animal welfare

About Me: Everyone in our family is involved on our farm, even my grandchildren. We also enjoy working together to show our sheep at county and state fairs. I believe it is important to share the truth about agriculture and teach others about farming practices.

Billie Gervais

Slayton, Minnesota

Our Farm: corn, pigs, soybeans

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: hiking, overall fitness, photography, reading, traveling

Ask Me About: farm ownership

About Me: I am a licensed social worker who married onto the farm and learned very quickly that farming is where my heart is. I even resigned my full-time job within one month of moving to the farm. My grandparents farmed, and I spent many hours with them as a child and teenager, so I guess you can say it is in my blood. However, I have also learned many things outside of my comfort zone, such as driving four-wheel-drive tractors and a semi truck.

Rachel Gray

Blackduck, Minnesota

Our Farm: beef cattle, hay

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: downhill skiing, barrel racing, watching my boys play high school sports

Ask Me About: animal welfare, food safety

About Me: I am constantly learning how to improve our farm operation. As a former teacher, I know the importance of learning and being open to new ideas, and I have brought that philosophy into my farming operation. I believe that to be progressive in this industry, you must never stop learning by speaking with people and listening to the ideas of others.

Facebook: Little Timber Farms

Jen Haugen

Austin, Minnesota

Our Farm: pigs

My Work: farmer, registered dietitian nutritionist

My Hobbies: gardening, cooking, sewing, camping, outdoor activities, writing

Ask Me About: food safety and nutrition

About Me: As a mom, registered dietitian, writer and farm-to-plate advocate, I am passionate about educating moms about the journey their food makes from the farm to their table. I hope to help moms feel confident that their food choices are nourishing their families. I believe that moms can change the world because they have the biggest impact on their family’s eating habits.

Facebook: Jen Haugen RD

Twitter: @jenhaugen

Ashley Kohls

Hutchinson, Minnesota

Our Farm: beef cattle, corn, soybeans

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, quality-assurance trainer and executive director

My Hobbies: baking, cooking, photography, running, biking, arts and crafts, overall fitness, gardening

Ask Me About: animal nutrition and welfare

About Me: My husband and I are the fourth generation on our family farm in McLeod County, Minnesota. We currently manage 200 cows and have a medium-sized feedlot as well. Our goal is to sustain and grow our operation to a point where the fifth generation is able to make a living on the farm. Every business decision is based on being to pass along the farm to the next generation.

Website: Beef and Babies

Facebook: Kohls Land and Cattle

Karen Larson

Evansville, Minnesota

Our Farm: corn, soybeans

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, accountant/tax preparation

My Hobbies: baking, cooking, fitness, photography, running

Ask Me About: farm ownership

About Me: I grew up on a dairy farm 100 miles south of my husband’s sixth-generation farm where we live today. I want people to understand what we do and why we do it in agriculture. People want answers about the way their food is produced but can find a lot of false information. My goal is to promote positive communication and hard facts about agriculture.

Twitter: @sparklefarmgirl

Instagram: karen121083

Natasha Mortenson

Danvers, Minnesota

Our Farm: beef cattle, corn, dairy cattle, soybeans

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, educational and community outreach

My Hobbies: gardening, photography, running, travel

Ask Me About: animal welfare, antibiotics and animal health, farm ownership, GMO foods, hormones in meat and milk

About Me: I grew up on a small family-owned crop farm, where my husband now farms. I am a beekeeper and also work at Riverview, a large-scale dairy, beef and crop farm. I have perspectives of both small and large farms. While they both operate differently, both provide healthy, wholesome food for consumers.

Facebook: Natasha Mortenson, Riverview, LLP, Wulf Cattle

Twitter: @NatashaMortenso, @riverviewllp, @wulfcattle

Instagram: nmortenson, riverviewllp, wulfcattle

Carolyn Olson

Cottonwood, Minnesota

Our Farm: corn, pigs, soybeans, wheat

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: baking, photography, watching sports

Ask Me About: local and organic farming, animal welfare

About Me: I grew up in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis. I married my husband and moved to the farm over 25 years ago. We have 1,100 acres of organic corn, soybeans, and wheat. We have a three-year rotation, so the acres are evenly split between the three crops. We also raise about 7,000 pigs each year for a neighbor. We use the manure from our pig barns as our source of fertilizer for our crops. Agriculture is my passion, and I feel blessed to be able to share my passion with others!

Wanda Patsche

Fairmont, Minnesota

Our Farm: pigs, corn, soybeans

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: genealogy, reading, gardening, spending time with my family and grandchildren

Ask Me About: housing options for pigs

About Me: I have numerous roles on the farm, including bookkeeping, babysitting and fieldwork. Throughout the year, you can find me sitting at my desk, playing with my granddaughter a couple days a week, working the ground in the spring and harvesting in the fall. When I am not working on one of these projects, I enjoy researching my family history.

Facebook: Wanda PatscheMinnesota Farm Living

Twitter: @MinnFarmer

Blog: Minnesota Farm Living 

YouTube: Wpatsche

Kristen Reiman

Princeton, Minnesota

Our Farm: chickens, crops, dairy cattle

My Hobbies: spending time with friends, watching movies, working with youth

Ask Me About: dairy cattle care, hormones in food, animal care

About Me: Dairy production has been a huge part of my life, and I hope that it will continue to be part of my future. I began showing cattle for local, state and national shows when I was 12 years old. My love and knowledge of agriculture eventually led me to be a young ambassador for the dairy industry. I spoke to many consumers around the state about healthy dairy foods and animal care. Later, I attended the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural education. I hope to share my passion for the dairy and agriculture industries with children.

Cheryl Rude

Granite Falls, Minnesota

Our Farm: corn, soybeans, beef cattle, pigs

My Work: farmer, mom, registered dietitian

My Hobbies: baking, cooking, writing, biking, travel, movies, reading, overall fitness, hiking

Ask Me About: local and organic foods, food safety

About Me: I was the oldest child on our family’s farm, which meant I spent a lot of time helping out. We raised mostly corn and soybeans and had livestock. Now, I am a registered dietitian and have work at the Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center. I think it is so important that consumers know where their food comes from and that they have accurate and factual information. I have a unique perspective of the process of getting food from the farm to the table, and I enjoy bridging the gap between consumers and farmers.

Nicole Schouviller

Callaway, Minnesota

Our Farm: dairy cattle

My Work: farmer, assistant crop insurance underwriter

My Hobbies: baking, cooking, running, arts and crafts, travel, movies

Ask Me About: hormones in meat and milk

About Me: I grew up on a century-owned dairy farm that is operated by my dad and his brother. We have over 400 head of dairy cattle, which include 120 head that we milk. And we have calves and older heifers at our main farmstead. Being a family farm, it’s all hands on deck. Even my 79-year old grandpa and 10 year-old cousin help out.

Dottie Smith-Jacobs

Melrose, Minnesota

Our Farm: beef cattle, corn, soybeans

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, grandma, substitute teacher

My Hobbies: reading, crafting, gardening, tractor pulling, spending time with my grandchildren, riding my motorcycle

Ask Me About: animal care, pesticides, antibiotics

About Me: My husband and I enjoy many activities together – tractor pulling, riding motorcycles and being involved with the Minnesota Corn Growers organization in our county. While I spend time with my husband, I often film events and create DVDs. I have recently made DVDs for the Central Minnesota Tractor Pullers Organization and for the Stearns County Corn Growers. That hobby is almost as much fun as babysitting my grandchildren.

Facebook: Dottie Smith-Jacobs

Twitter: @countrygalDot

Megan Sukalski

Fairmont, Minnesota

Our Farm: corn, soybeans

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: reading, volunteering at the local humane society, spending time outside with my son and dogs

Ask Me About: milk production

About Me: I enjoy speaking to mothers about agriculture. I want to teach them the real story so they can teach their children everything that the agriculture industry has to offer. Agriculture has been a part of my entire life and helped me to grow into the person that I am, so promoting this industry comes very easy to me.

Kristie Swenson

Trimont, Minnesota

Our Farm: corn, soybeans

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, loan officer

My Hobbies: scrapbooking, graphic design, volleyball, spending time with my family

Ask Me About: banking and agriculture finance, GMOs

About Me: Increasing agricultural literacy has been a passion of mine since I was in sixth grade. I discovered my friends didn’t understand how food is raised, even though agriculture is our town’s primary industry. I enjoy visiting with people to give them information about food and farming.

Krista Willis

Wilmar, Minnesota

Our Farm: corn, soybeans

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: baking, cooking, photography, quilting, reading, sewing, travel

Ask Me About: GMO foods, sustainability

About Me: Twenty years ago, my husband and I moved back to my family’s farm, where we now grow corn and soybeans. My father is still involved on the farm during planting and harvest – his favorite job is to drive the combine. Two years ago, I retired from my job, and I love that it has allowed me to become more hands-on in the farming operation. I want to break down the misconceptions that exist about modern farming in a way that people will be open to hearing. What are your food concerns?