Proud to be a Hometown Farmer: CommonGround

(DODGE, NE) How much do you really know about being on a farm? Are there any questions you've ever wanted to ask to find out what really goes on? That's the idea behind CommonGround at J & S Feed lot near Dodge, Nebraska.

Joan Ruskamp's day starts early, she feeds and checks the cows at around 6:30 in the morning.

"Calves take more; we're watching them two or three times a day," said Ruskamp.

Over the last 32 years, she's taken on a lot of jobs at the J & S Feed Lot that she and her husband own near Dodge, Nebraska.

"I take care of cattle doctoring, processing, book work, many miscellaneous jobs, also," she said.

But Joan has a very important job off of the farm too as part of CommonGround.

"We have Ninety-five volunteers in 16 states, there's 13 just in Nebraska," she said.

CommonGround started in 2010. It's a group of farm women volunteering to fight misconceptions about what happens on the farm and helping people better understand where their food comes from.

Joan hears some of the most concerns about growth hormone in cattle and to answer that question she's set up a comparative demonstration using m&m's.

"This would be like what you'd find in an implanted steer, a 3 ounce serving of beef," she said showing off a jar of candy. "If you were to eat peas, there's a little more in peas, if you like coleslaw or cabbage at all, this would be how much you'd find in a 3 ounce serving of that. So it's naturally occurring in a lot of our foods, hormones are just in our foods."

Because at the end of the day with cattle it's all about raising healthy, quality food.

"When a steer comes here, he doesn't just come here to survive, he comes here to thrive," she said.

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