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

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

Paige Hepp

Treynor, Iowa

Our Farm: corn, soybeans

My Work: meal prep, help haul the auger/seed tender/seed when needed; and I have an off the farm job at an Ag Marketing Agency

My Hobbies: antiquing, baking, cooking, movies, photography, singing, travel

Ask Me About: sustainability

About Me:

I was raised on a century farm in Southwest Iowa as a fourth-generation agriculturalist. I have moved to North Central Iowa with my husband who is in the process of a farm transition/succession plan with a local farmer. Speaking to the public about our farming practices allows for transparency between farmers and consumers. By sharing our truth, I hope that consumers will celebrate their choices at the grocery store and support their local farmers.

Instagram: @paige_hepp

Alicia Humphrey

Audubon, Iowa

Our Farm: hogs

My Work: public relations

My Hobbies: biking, hiking, running

Ask Me About: animal welfare, antibiotics and animal health, family farms versus corporate farms

About Me: I grew up on a fifth-generation diversified livestock farm in southeast Wisconsin. My favorite part of the farm was raising pigs, which led me to my career in agriculture communications. Consumers have a lot of information to sort through when it comes to food and agriculture. As a farmer, I believe it is important for us to share our experiences of growing food with consumers to help ease the uncertainty around the agriculture industry.

Instagram: @Ahumphrey14

Twitter: @Ahumphrey14

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

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

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

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: alfalfa, beef cattle, corn, soybeans

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, marketing manager

My Hobbies: baking, cooking, photography, blogging, running, arts and crafts, travel, movies, reading, overall fitness

Ask Me About: biotechnology/GMOs, animal nutrition and welfare, food safety, family farms vs. corporate farms

About Me: Having grown up in town, I had a lot to learn about farming after I married my farmer husband. I love living on a farm and am so glad that we can raise our family here. My favorite things to talk about are family, food and life on the farm. We feel so fortunate to be the sixth generation living on our farm, and raising the seventh generation!

Website: Sara’s House

Facebook: Saras-House-HD

Twitter: @sarashousehold

Instagram: @sarashousehd

Corinne Rowe

Dallas Center, Iowa

Our Farm: beef cattle

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, relationship manager with John Deere Financial

My Hobbies: baking, flower gardening, photography

Ask Me About: animal welfare, antibiotics and animal health, family farms versus corporate farms, sustainability

About Me: My husband, 10-year-old son, six-year-old daughter and I work on the farm as a family. We raise mama cows who have baby calves in May and June each year, and let our cows graze in pastures year-round. We also have a freezer beef business where we sell our meat to consumers and are opening an on-farm store to sell beef in 2021. We eat both the food we raise on our farm and the food produced by other farmers in the U.S. that we buy from grocery stores, because we know it is all safe and nutritious. We love that our last name (Rowe) happens to rhyme with cow!

Facebook: Rowes Red Cows

Instagram: @rowes_red_cows and @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