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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


(Speaker Series) Cultivating Understanding: Engaging with Opposing Views in Agricultural Discussions

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There used to be rules of engagement that were generally accepted in written communications as well as personal interactions. But reality has shifted and now, any of us can find ourselves in the center of controversy whether it’s from anonymous trolls online or in person with someone who takes issue with things central to our very being. In this interactive talk, Janice Person, an expert in agricultural communication, will share lessons learned when she worked at Monsanto on technologies such as genetically modified organisms that some people found controversial or confusing. Using agricultural communication as an example, Janice will outline ways to approach people who hold divergent views in ways that can make conversations less stressful and even productive.

Speaker Bio

For the past decade Janice Person, owner of Grounded Communications, has been building bridges inside agriculture and from ag to the general public. She focuses on public speaking, training and working on projects with clients who seek her unique approach. She was recently inducted into the Ag Relations Hall of Fame based on her contributions to communications and outreach, many of those in a pioneering role of connecting to food and family influencers while at Monsanto. 

A member of the National Speakers Association, Janice has built programs to build understanding for each side of the urban and rural gap. Her podcast. Grounded by the Farm, shares stories about producing food visiting farms and sharing audio and video growing avocados or wagyu beef. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri today but every winter thinks more seriously about moving further south. 



We strive to make all events accessible to everyone. All virtual programs are presented with automated closed captions. If you wish to request traditional CART services or other accommodations, please contact Laura Akgerman at or 614-292-0622. Requests submitted two weeks in advance will generally allow us to provide seamless access, but the university will make every effort to meet every request.