JoanRuskamp2Have you ever purchased an item that was sold as “one size fits all”? There are some items, like a rain poncho, that worked for me to buy that way. That wasn’t the case when I went to buy a pair of rubber gloves. I found it very difficult to stuff my hands into a glove that was made for much smaller hands than mine. Has this ever happened to you?

What about food choices? Besides a plethora of diets to choose from we also have plenty of choices when it comes to how the food was raised. When I was a child, my mom didn’t have the labels of organic, grass-fed, hormone free, etc. to look at. Mom often bought the items that were on sale that week to feed our family of eight. Now when a mom goes to the store, there are labels and whole grocery aisles of specialty foods that can be quite confusing. Learning what labels mean and understanding more about production practices can help. You can learn more about labels here.

In our culture today we have many people concerned about how food is raised. Part of that is due to the change in the size of farms as well as fewer people doing the farming. Farms have changed over the centuries to meet the needs of the people needing to be fed. The food choices we have today are very important so that those with food sensitivities can find what they need as well as the family on a tight budget.

Our farm practices are designed to feed more people using less resources. We utilize the science and research done by our universities and yes, companies that sell us seed, weed control and veterinary medicine. We utilize a hormone implant in cattle, antibiotics for disease and seed corn that can defend itself against a pest through DNA procedures. It is very important to us to use methods that will leave us a better farm tomorrow. Putting research into practice is akin to saying the proof is in the pudding. Continually finding better ways to improve our soil, provide better care for the cattle and produce a healthy food choice is what we work for.

I encourage people on all sides of the debate about food production to first accept the need for a variety of farming methods and second to spend time getting to know farmers by asking us how we do what we do. It is through shared friendly discussions that we all benefit from a continued food supply to meet the needs of a many sizes needed to fit all society.

As a beef producer, enjoy this yummy beef recipe from my family to yours!

{Meatballs Amore}

2 lbs lean hamburger

1 package chicken Stove-top stuffing

1 cup water

2 eggs


1- 12 ounce jar grape jelly

1 -12 ounce jar chili sauce


Mix meatball ingredients together. Form around 4 dozen meatballs.

Place meatballs on foil lined 10×15 jelly roll pan. Bake @ 350 degrees for 20 minutes.


While the meatballs are baking, mix the sauce ingredients together in a pan over medium heat. Keep stirring until mixture starts to boil. Remove from heat.

TWO OPTIONS: 1) Pour the sauce over the meatballs and put in a crock pot, or 2) Pour the sauce over the meatballs and bake for another 5 minutes to form a glaze, then serve.

Joan's Meatballs Amore


CommonGround is a farmer-driven, volunteer program created to clear up misconceptions and enhance the trust and awareness among urban consumers for today’s agriculture. CommonGround serves as a partnership between the nation’s soybean and corn checkoffs. To learn more about CommonGround, visit, and learn more about the farm women involved in CommonGround Nebraska at