Ohio Farm Bureau's Leah Dorman weighs in during a panel discussion on genetically modified crops in Trumbull County.

A thoughtful conversation on GMOs as farmers reach out to their community

Buckeye Farm News

Trumbull County Farm Bureau held the first event in its new learning series that aims to connect farmers and consumers while providing accurate, unbiased information about agriculture.

The first event in the learning series, “Farmed and Confused: The GMO and non-GMO discussion,” was a panel discussion including local farmers and experts to discuss GMOs.

A conversation between volunteers Christen Clemson and Mary Smallsreed and Organization Director Ty Kellogg led to the development of the series and its first event.

“We wanted to create an interactive dialogue between non-farmers and farmers that spreads information based on the wants and needs of both groups. Our Farm Bureau organization really wants to connect with groups that we have not previously engaged with,” Clemson said.

The next event in the series, “Farm to Spoon: Travels of your milk, your transport to dairy adventures,” will be held June 28.

“June is dairy month and the Trumbull County Farm Bureau traditionally celebrates by having a strawberry ice cream social. This year we are going to incorporate our learning series with this event,” Smallsreed said.

Clemson explains that this event will include multiple stations where attendees will visit with experts ranging from farmers and veterinarians to nutritionists. After visiting each station and completing their “passport” for the event, attendees can then enjoy ice cream. She also said that the third program in the series is in early stages of development but feedback from the GMO panel discussion indicates people would like to learn more about meat.

“I think it is important to have events like these that are open discussions, not debates. Farmers can present how they farm and why they farm the way they do,” Smallsreed said. “There is so much information available to the public about agriculture. We want to be a credible source that people look to for answers.”

Along with providing a learning opportunity for many, the event has reinvigorated the Trumbull County Farm Bureau volunteers.

“These learning series have allowed us as an organization to get more of our trustees involved and excited about working on new projects. Ty is very good at putting the right people with the right job, and our board has received new energy and excitement,” Clemson said. “Our board had gotten into a stagnant routine with events, and this learning series has really invigorated all involved.”

The first event was a partnership with League of Women Voters of Trumbull County, and they hope to keep the partnership and build others.

“These partnerships allowed us to include participants that are not normally targeted by Farm Bureau,” Clemson said. “We hope to pair with different organizations throughout the  learning series events, each time expanding and growing our participant base, while continuing to build support with our own members.”

The event was filmed by Trumbull County Tech Center and has been posted to YouTube to share with those who could not be at the event or are simply looking for more information about GMOs. They hope to do this with each event.

Credit: Photo courtesy of Trumbull Career and Technical Center – Interactive Multimedia


Callie Wells 

Callie Wells is the director of digital communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.

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