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 Iowa

Megan Alliger

Gowrie, Iowa

Our Farm: Corn, Soybeans, Chickens, Beef Cattle

My Work: Mom, farmer, entrepreneur 

My Hobbies: Baking, Cooking, Photography, Overall fitness    

Ask Me About: Animal Ag/Nutrition/Welfare, Animal Ag/Antibiotics, Food Prices, Family Farms vs. Corporate Farms        

About Me: I farm with my husband, Aaron, his parents, Larry & Jill and his brother, Alex, his wife Lacey and with their family — it’s a big family operation here! We grow corn and soybeans as well as feed beef cattle and chickens. My in laws feed hogs! We have 4 adorable children, 3 girls ages 10, 8 and 4 along with a newborn baby boy! I also work from home being a Top Leader of my Younique Cosmetics team. We’ve recently started a direct-to-consumer business selling our beef, hogs and chickens, and we look forward to sharing our farm with others. There is so much in agriculture that people are curious or confused about, and I love being able to share answers with them and show them exactly where their food comes from and who grows it! 

Rachel Binning

Clive, Iowa

My Work: scientist, wife, dog mom

My Hobbies: baking, cooking, gardening, photography, reading, writing

Ask Me About: biotechnology/GMOs

About Me: I work at Corteva Agriscience as a scientist. I manage regulatory authorizations for soybean and canola genetically modified seed traits. There is a lot of misinformation about agriculture technology, and I want to help people find answers and feel confident about food in the U.S.

Instagram: @grywhp

Twitter: @grywhp

 

Aimee Bissell

Bedford, Iowa

Our Farm: corn, soybeans

My Work: farmer, mom, wife, respiratory therapist

My Hobbies: arts and crafts, photography, travel

Ask Me About: family farms versus corporate farms

About Me: My husband, our two boys and I grow corn and soybeans in southwest Iowa. I also serve as a registered respiratory therapist for Montgomery County Memorial Hospital. I believe we should all have access to truthful information when making our food decisions and am passionate about sharing good food facts with consumers to help make these decisions easier.

Facebook: Farms Bissell; Aimee Bissell

Kellie Blair

Dayton, Iowa

Our Farm: beef cattle, corn, pigs, soybeans

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, watershed coordinator

My Hobbies: blogging, movies, reading, yard work

Ask Me About: biotechnology, sustainability and conservation, family farms vs. corporate farms

About Me: On our farm, my husband and I strive for continual improvement of our soil and water quality. I think it is great that consumers want to know where their food comes from. Eating healthy is important to me and how I feed my family. I believe we have safe sustainable choices in the U.S. While I devote a lot of my free time working with numerous agriculture organizations and initiatives, my favorite thing to do is spend time with my family and play with my kids.

Website: Home Again Finnegan

Facebook: Home Again Finnegan

Twitter: @BlairKellie

Lynn Bolin

Clarksville, Iowa

Our Farm: dairy

My Work: farmer, homeschool mom, wife, GuestBarn host

My Hobbies: singing, traveling, writing, people — from strangers to family

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

About Me: My husband, #DairymanDan, and I take care of 150 dairy cows alongside his parents. I host people at our GuestBarn, a unique vacation rental attached to our dairy barn, giving guests a 24/7 bird’s-eye view of our cows. As a big-city girl turned farmer, I’m learning new things about agriculture and our food (and much more!) every day. Sharing those experiences and learning from others’ experiences is one of my favorite things to do. I love that together we can build trust and a better world by having real conversations with, not at, each other!

Facebook: New Day Dairy GuestBarn

Instagram: @lynn.newdaydairy

Website: www.newdaydairy.com

Paula Ellis

Donnellson , Iowa

Our Farm: corn and soybeans

My Work: Farmer, mom, conservationist

My Hobbies: Baking, Cooking, Arts and Crafts, Boating, Kayaking, Hunting, Gardening

Ask Me About: Sustainability and Conservation, Family Farms vs. Corporate Farms

About Me: I farm corn and soybeans alongside my husband, Jeff, and our two children on our family farm. Sustainability is one of the main focuses on our farm, and in 2019, I was named Woman Conservation Farmer of the Year in Iowa. I enjoy being able to spread the word about what we’re doing on our farm and how it positively affects food and products down the supply chain.

 

Stephanie Haywood

Albia, Iowa

Name: Stephanie Haywood

Our Farm: beef cattle, show calves, goats, pony

My Work:  farmer, wife, mom, small-business owner

My Hobbies: arts and crafts, showing cattle, traveling, writing

Ask Me About: animal welfare, farm ownership, food prices

About Me: My husband and I run a beef cattle farm. I recently retired from an off-farm job to be home full time with my four kiddos and help more on the farm. I also own a farm-based boutique designing T-shirts and jewelry. I want to help people understand what it means to run a family farm. I love helping other moms see the importance of knowing where and how our food is raised.

Facebook: Stephanie Haywood, Mama’s Farmhouse Designs

Instagram: mamas.farmhousedesigns

Paige Hepp

Rockwell City, Iowa

Our Farm: corn and soybeans

My Work: Family farmer

My Hobbies: Baking, Cooking, Photography, Singing, Travel, Movies, Antiquing

Ask Me About: Sustainability and Conservation

About Me: My family has farmed in southwest Iowa for 125 years. We grow corn and soybeans, and I’ve recently joined my husband on his row crop farm. We are first-generation farmers out of Calhoun County, and we are expecting our first child in December 2021. I enjoy working with agriculture organizations, both local and national, and I am passionate about sharing the family farm story. Speaking to the public about our farming practices allows for transparency between farmers and consumers. By sharing our truth, I hope that consumers would choose to support local farmers.

Facebook: Paige Hepp

Instagram: @paige_hepp

Twitter: @NWaggie17

Rhonda Hill

Madrid, Iowa

Our Farm:  corn, chicken, sheep soybeans

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, grandma

My Hobbies: arts and crafts, reading, travel, gardening

Ask Me About: farm ownership

About Me: I’m a fourth-generation farmer who’s driven to help consumers find the answers to their farming questions. One thing that makes me very proud is that my great grandfather purchased 160 acres back in 1875 after the Morrill Land Act of 1862. This land purchase helped finance the agriculture college in Ames now known as Iowa State University. My family was recognized at the Clay County Fair in 2016. I want to help consumers find the answers to their farming questions.

Facebook: Rhonda-Morey Hill

Alicia Humphrey

Lenox, Iowa

Our Farm: Hogs

My Work: Communicator, farmer, agvocate

My Hobbies: Running, Biking, Hiking

Ask Me About: Animal Ag/Nutrition/Welfare, Animal Ag/Antibiotics, Family Farms vs. Corporate Farms

About Me: I’m a fifth-generation farmer with a passion for sharing the story of the industry that’s been my entire life! (I grew up on my family’s diversified farm in southeast Wisconsin.) I work off the farm as the director of public relations at AMVC Management Services, the 10th largest swine management company. I’m active in local and state agriculture organizations and in our local movie theater. Having grown up on a farm and involved in pig farming today, I think it’s important for us in farming to share what it’s actually like to those who may not be on the farm anymore.

Instagram: @ahumphrey14

Twitter: @ahumphrey14

Abbie Johnson

Floyd, Iowa

Our Farm: Corn, Soybeans, Sheep           

My Work: Educator, farmer, mom

My Hobbies: Hiking, Photography, Travel 

Ask Me About: Animal welfare

About Me: Our farm is truly a family affair! We’re fortunate to have three generations working together to build a farm for our future generations. I grew up raising sheep and hogs, and my husband grew up with sheep, hogs and row crops. We both used to be agriculture teachers but have since moved to the farm full-time. It’s understandable that fellow moms have questions about how their food is raised and where it comes from. I enjoy being an example and being able to share the truth about food production.

Facebook: Abbie Wiebbecke Johnson

Amber Kohlhaas

Algona, Iowa

Our Farm: corn, soybeans, club cattle, breeding cattle, beef cattle

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, agri-marketer, agriculture advocate

My Hobbies: animals, farming, photography, writing

Ask Me About: animal welfare, antibiotics and animal health, food safety, sustainability

About Me: I am a born and raised “FarmHer.” I grew up on a grain and livestock family farm in north-central Iowa, where I am actively involved today. My husband and I have spent the past 10 years growing corn, soybeans, as well as owning a quality cattle operation. We raise cows alongside their calves for various purposes. By day, I work in Agri-marketing and proudly steward brands that I believe in. By night, I am a steward of land and livestock. In all facets of our farm operation, our goal is to leave it better than it was before. It is such a privilege to be a farmer, and I feel it’s our job to arm consumers with knowledge to make purchasing decisions for their family. I love utilizing social platforms to connect agriculture with new audiences, such as offering little slices of farm life through stories and videos.

Facebook: Amber Lonnevik KohlhaasPro Tour Cattle Sale

Instagram: @amberkohlhaas

Twitter: @amberkohlhaas

Website: www.kohlhaascattleco.com

Lisa Kubik

Traer, Iowa

Our Farm: alfalfa, corn, beef cattle, meat goats, soybeans

My Work: farmer, wife, animal care manager, field manager for the Soil Health Partnership

My Hobbies: baking, biking, blogging, cooking, horseback riding, kayaking, photography, overall fitness, running, skiing, writing

Ask Me About: animal welfare, antibiotics and animal health, family farms versus corporate farms, food prices, food safety, hormones in meat and milk, organic and local foods, sustainability

About Me:

My husband and I operate a mama cow and calf operation alongside my father-in-law and have recently added goats to diversify our farm. We also grow hay, corn and soybeans. We keep sustainability top of mind on our farm and have taken different steps to help improve the forage quality of our pastures for the animals and improve soil health for our crops. There is so much information out there when it comes to food and how it’s produced. I want to share my firsthand knowledge and experiences to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions.

Facebook: Lisa NelsonInstagram: @lisajokubik

Twitter: @lisajokubik

Erica Lain

Corydon, Iowa

Our Farm: Corn, soybeans, alfalfa and beef cattle

My Work: Farmer, chef, environmental steward

My Hobbies: Baking, Cooking, Running, Overall fitness, Gardening

Ask Me About: Sustainability and Conservation, Animal Ag/Nutrition/Welfare, Food Safety

Me: Nestled in the corn belt is our family farm. My husband, Kenton, and I farm with his family, and we grow corn, soybeans and alfalfa along with raising beef cattle. I also work off the farm as the Sustainability Manager for Iowa Select Farms. I love to be in the kitchen, baking and cooking delicious meals that show how to easily incorporate meat protein sources! The amount of passion producers have to provide such a safe, wholesome product to consumers around the world makes me proud to be a farmer.

Facebook: Erica Lain

Instagram:@mrsericalain

Mary Lauver

Lohrville, Iowa

Our Farm: Corn, Soybeans

My Work: Lawyer, farmer, mom, wife

My Hobbies: Baking, Arts and Crafts, showing horses, gardening            

Ask Me About: Ag/Nutrition/Welfare, Family Farms vs. Corporate Farms

About Me: My husband and I are both fifth-generation farmers in Calhoun County, Iowa – raising our sixth generation! We farm with his family and are active on my family farm as well. I also work off the farm as a general practice attorney and stay active in the agriculture, law and agriculture law community. Moms are in this together, and I want to be a resource to answer any questions and share the farm life with those who don’t live it first-hand.

Facebook: Mary Lauver

Instagram: @iowa.farm.mama

Twitter: @marymlauver

Julie Van Manen

Kellogg, Iowa

Our Farm: beef cattle, corn, pigs, soybeans, sweet corn

My Work: farmer, wife and mom

My Hobbies: baking, reading, flower gardening and having lunch with friends

Ask Me About: animal nutrition and welfare, hormones in meat and milk, family farms vs. corporate farms

About Me: Our farm has been in my husband’s family since 1927. We’ve been married for 25 years, and we still enjoy working side-by-side to finish daily chores. While we have chores that we have to complete daily, there are no two days that are the same, and that is what makes farming so great.

Website: Farm Life In Black And White

Facebook: Farm Life in Black and White

Lexi Marek

Webster City, Iowa

Our Farm: corn, beef cattle, hogs, soybeans

My Work: Communications Coordinator, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

My Hobbies: baking, beauty, blogging, home decor, reading, social media, travel 

Ask Me About: farm ownership, sustainability

About Me: I’m a farm girl that currently lives in the city. I love getting back to the farm whenever I can, helping with our pigs, feeding cattle or driving the tractor in our field. I’m the sixth generation on my family’s farm and the oldest of four girls. I love having a career now that I can support all farmers in the state of Iowa and be a leader in the agriculture community. Farmers raise food to feed their families and feed the world. I want to help consumers see the steps the agriculture community takes to do what is best for everyone.

Instagram: @leximarek

Twitter: @leximarek

Joan Maxwell

Donahue, Iowa

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

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: biking, travel, reading

Ask Me About: hormones in meat and milk

About Me: I work alongside my husband and our daughters on our farm. To milk our dairy cows, we use robots and, as a result, host many on-farm tours each year to see how it all works. We love to have groups visit us and are passionate about helping inform them while demonstrating our use of modern technology to better care for our land and livestock.

Website: Cinnamon Ridge Farms

Facebook: Cinnamon Ridge Farms

Molly Mormann

Manchester, Iowa

Our Farm: Corn, Soybeans, Beef Cattle    

My Work: Family farmer, salesman

My Hobbies: Baking, Cooking, Travel, Riding horses, showing cattle

Ask Me About: Animal Ag/Nutrition/Welfare, Animal Ag/Antibiotics, Hormones (in meat and milk), Family Farms vs. Corporate Farms   

About Me: I was born, raised, and currently still live on my family farm, where we raise beef cattle, grow corn and soybeans and have horses that we enjoy trail riding with. Off the farm, I work full time in Northeast Iowa as a Dairy Calf and Heifer Specialist with Purina Animal Nutrition. The various agriculture industries that my family is involved in are responsible for my livelihood and passions. I want everyone to know that they can trust the agriculture industry in providing a safe, wholesome and nutritious food. 

Facebook: Molly Mormann

Amy Nelson

Donahue, Iowa

Our Farm: Corn, Soybeans, Beef Cattle, Seed Corn      

My Work:  Fifth-Generation Farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: I’m trying to find them again!

Ask Me About: Family Farms vs. Corporate Farms   

About Me: I have a rather unusual story being the principal operator of our farm and one of the last members of my extended family to be farming. My husband, Randall, works off the farm and we have two children. On top of raising our children, I raise beef cattle and grow soybeans and corn for grain as well as for seeds. I’m the fifth generation to live and work on my family farm, and I’m excited to see what areas of agriculture pique my childrens’ interest in the future.

Val Plagge

Latimer, Iowa

Our Farm: corn, soybeans, hogs

My Work: farmer, mom, wife

My Hobbies: baking, blogging, cooking, photography, reading, travel, writing

Ask Me About: animal welfare, antibiotics and animal health, biotechnology/GMOs, family farms versus corporate farms, food safety

About Me: I am a fifth-generation farmer, and my husband and I love raising the next generation on our farm. Lately, the hog market has been changing and challenging, and we have been trying new things to make sure we can stay sustainable. I am proud of the choices available for consumers, and I want people to feel safe, secure and confident in the food choices available.

Facebook: Corn, Beans, Pigs, and Kids

Twitter: @PlaggeVal

Instagram: @PlaggeVal

Blog: Corn, Beans, Pigs and KidsVal Plagge

YouTube: Valerie Plagge

Sara Ross

Minden, Iowa

Our Farm: Corn, Soybeans, Alfalfa, Beef Cattle

My Work: Farmer, mom, insurance agent

My Hobbies: Baking, Cooking, Photography, Running, Travel, Movies, Reading, Overall fitness

Ask Me About: Biotechnology/GMOs, Animal Ag/Antibiotics, Family Farms vs. Corporate Farms

About Me: My husband Kevin and I currently farm corn, soybeans and alfalfa as well as raise beef cattle and our four seventh-generation farmers, who have already found their love for the farm life! I also work off the farm as an insurance agent with my family’s agency. I enjoy sharing our farm life because I think it’s important to put a face with farming and to be as transparent as possible about where food comes from.

Facebook: Sara Baldonado Ross

Instagram: @the_mrssaraross

Corinne Rowe

Dallas Center, Iowa

Our Farm: Beef Cattle     

My Work: Farmer, mom, kid and cattle wrangler

My Hobbies: Baking, Photography, Flower Gardening

Ask Me About: Sustainability and Conservation, Animal Ag/Nutrition/Welfare, Animal Ag/Antibiotics, Family Farms vs. Corporate Farms

About Me: My husband and I, along with our two children, raise beef cattle in central Iowa and I also work off the farm as a dealer relationship adviser for John Deere. Our beef cattle are Red Angus and the mamas have calves every June, which is one of our favorite times of the year! Sustainability is also one of our top priorities, rotating pastures and making sure our soil is healthy. We eat the food we raise on our farm and trust the food produced by other farmers in the U.S. is safe to eat too.

Facebook: Rowes Red Cows

Instagram: @rowes_red_cows_and_meat_market // @rowe_kids_and_cows

Suzanne Shirbroun

Farmersburg, Iowa

Our Farm: corn, soybeans

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, agronomist, co-manager of a seed dealership and precision-agriculture business

My Hobbies: cooking, arts and crafts, travel, hiking, gardening

Ask Me About: biotechnology/GMOs, sustainability and conservation, food safety, family farms vs. corporate farms

About Me: My husband and I farm on the same land that my ancestors started farming in 1873 in Farmersburg, Iowa. Because of our families’ long history with farming, we are extremely mindful of protecting the environment in order to ensure that the land is improved for future generations. I believe that the United States is fortunate to have natural resources and farmers to produce safe, economical, quality food for the world. I love to share that story!

Facebook:  2 Farmers and Their 3 Sprouts

Twitter: @NEIAFARMER

Blog: Suzanne’s Common Ground

YouTube: Suzanne Shirbroun

Keisha Thompson

Milo, Iowa

Our Farm: Beef cattle, hay/pasture

My Work: Teacher, mom, farmer, entrepreneur 

My Hobbies: Baking, Cooking, Boating, Hunting, Gardening

Ask Me About: Sustainability and Conservation, Animal Ag/Nutrition/Welfare

About Me: My husband, Brandon, and I raise beef cattle (and our son Wyatt). We’re active in many state and local agriculture and conservation groups, and I also help on my family farm which has been around for more than a century! As if farming and being a mom doesn’t keep me busy enough, I’ve channeled my passion for agriculture and education into a part-time job with our local Farm Bureau, teaching Ag in the Classroom. With more and more families not living on farms and not sure where their food comes from, I hope to educate all consumers about agriculture and how it affects our lives. 

Facebook: 1 OAK – One Of A Kind // Keisha Thompson

Instagram: @1oakiowa // @kthomps0n7

Twitter: @1OAKiowa // @kthomps0n7