South Dakota animal specialist Amanda Even.

Agriculture: A Lifelong Passion for Local Advocate

Having grown up on a family farm outside Sioux Falls, Amanda Eben has always loved sharing her experiences with agriculture. Today, as a stepmom she gets a lot of questions from fellow moms about modern farming and how it affects our food. She is passionate about farming and wants to help others make the connection from the farm to the grocery aisle.

“Farmers do many things differently today than they did in past generations,” Eben said. “When I was younger, we fed our pigs in dirt lots and in wooden A-frames outside. Today, we use a larger enclosed building that allows our animals to be kept safe from diseases and predators, and allows us to monitor their environment to keep them comfortable and happy.”

Eben, who lives with her husband and stepson in northwest Iowa, wants to share these changes, especially with other moms. That’s why she decided to join CommonGround, a grassroots organization that works to bridge the gap between women who purchase food and the women who grow it.

“Through different media events and activities, a group of farm women will get together to have honest conversations with women who are on the consuming side,” Eben explained. “We share what we do and why we do it and try to be as transparent as possible.”

Eben sees opportunities to talk about agriculture in every day life as well. “I try to have these conversations with anyone I can,” she said. “Whether I’m on a plane or in the grocery store, wherever I have the opportunity. Everybody eats, so everyone should be able to connect with their food.”

Most recently, Eben has lent her support to the Hungry for Truth initiative. She is one of eight farmers featured on the Hungry for Truth website with videos answering some of consumers’ most frequently asked questions.

“The Hungry for Truth website brings you across the table from real farmers,” Eben said. “It feels like you’re really there in person, having a conversation. I think oftentimes people think they can’t ask farmers about what they do, but we love talking about how we care for our crops and animals.”