Michele Payn personifies passion. Known as one of North America’s leading experts in connecting farm and food, she serves as a resource for people around the plate. Michele encourages all of her clients and audiences to find people’s hot buttons and speak their language – whether it’s growing the farm and food conversation, developing an advocacy strategy, or discussing mental health. Michele delivers high energy training programs and motivational keynotes to empower organizations to build connected communities.
Utilizing her diverse professional experience in the agricultural, sales and not-for-profit sectors, Michele founded Cause Matters Corp., a company designed to create connections around the food plate, in 2001. Cause Matters Corp. focuses on addressing food myths, developing science communication, and connecting farm to food. In each of these core areas, Michele helps organizations clearly identify issues, understand their audience and develop big picture solutions. Michele’s goal is to help you communicate “why your cause matters” – whether you’re a scientist, dietitian or in agribusiness.
She knows agriculture because she lives agriculture. Payn grew on a dairy farm and holds degrees in Agricultural Communications and Animal Science from Michigan State University. She is past president of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Alumni Association and had the impact of her work featured in one of the first Spartan Sagas. Career highlights include a Regional Directorship for the National FFA Foundation, where she sold over $5 million in corporate sponsorships and led campaigns to develop community support. She has also marketed and sold dairy genetics to more than 25 countries, managed e-business accounts and presented training programs in developing countries. Michele still holds her firsthand farm experience as the best contributor to her work.
Her lifelong passion for agriculture stems from childhood; she has been breeding and judging dairy cattle as a registered Holstein breeder since the age of nine and now resides on a small central Indiana farm. She enjoys working on the farm with her ‘city slicker’ husband and cow-loving daughter, making memories with friends, coaching 4-H & FFA members and cheering on the Michigan State Spartans.
Michele has been baking since she was a young girl, but became a full-fledged foodie when she lived in Italy as a college student. Her second book was awarded an IPPY bronze medal for medicine, health, and nutrition. Food Truths from Farm to Table: 25 Ways to Shop & Eat Without Guilt, a #1 best seller on Amazon, brings clarity to grocery shopping and address food marketing myths. She also wrote the two-sided book No More Food Fights! Growing a Productive Farm & Food Conversation to encourage farm and food people to reach across the plate to find commonalities.
Michele’s newest book, Food Bullying: How to Avoid Buying B.S., is a #1 best seller and was just named the IPPY 2020 gold medal award winner for medicine, health, and nutrition. This startling look at the misrepresentation of food sheds light on bogus nutrition and environmental claims to help people recognize and stand up to the bullies. She most recently became a podcast host, launching the “Food Bullying Podcast” with Eliz Greene to help more people understand the many reasons that food should be about comfort and celebration.
Michele’s strong belief in community-building and overcoming food insecurity stems from experience on four continents, including working in the Ukraine and Egypt, through United States Agency for International Development (USAID) projects. She has been selected as a Face of Innovation and is also active in her central Indiana community, volunteering with FFA, 4-H, church, and school.
Payn continues to hone her skills after helping thousands of people around the world. As a member of the National Speakers Association, Michele is the founder of a professional networking group for generation X and Y speakers. She has earned her Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), a designation awarded to less than 10% of professional speakers globally.
Michele founded #AgChat and #FoodChat on Twitter, in April 2009. Tens of thousands of people from more than 25 countries participated in this highly visible conversation around food and farm issues. This community nominated Michele as one of Mashable’s Top Three Twitter User’s of the Year in 2009, putting agriculture alongside celebrities.
Michele measures success in conversations around the food plate by people who are willing to reach out to help make their cause matter.
When you’re ready to stand up and celebrate the people, promise and passion in your business, bring Michele to your meeting. You will laugh and cry while celebrating work from the farm gate to the consumer plate. Fill your room with energy and unmatched passion for the agrifood business – Michele is known for lighting up audiences and leaving an imprint on their heart.
Michele’s keynote is filled with poignant moments from her life on the farm, lessons from working with farmers from over 25 countries and how to really make a connection that impacts the future of agriculture. She’ll even incorporate kickboxing moves and throw in audience humor as they join her on stage. This memorable keynote will help you understand how to lead through the significant changes facing agriculture in the 21st century and leave a legacy for your business.
What is food bullying? The need to position one food as superior to another lies at the heart of food bullying. Bullying doesn’t happen without fear, and there’s a whole lot of fear in food today! Food bullying literally takes food out of someone’s hand–by removing choice, creating emotion, or forcing an individual into groupthink mentality. In this cutting edge training, Michele will help you think about the victims, such as:
- The farmer who can longer use the most effective pest control in her vineyard
- A homeless person who can no longer afford eggs because of price increases from regulations
- The farmer who is insulted by his neighbors for transitioning to organic
- Amom afraid to buy anything not labeled non-GMO
ranchers not allowed to use traditional animal health practices because of backlash from activists
- Buy, prepare and serve healthy, affordable food with confidence after reading Food Truths from Farm to Table: 25 Surprising Ways to Shop & Eat Without Guilt. This book is must-read for anyone interested in food, nutrition and health!”
In this new, thought-provoking program, Michele will bring many other examples, whether in-person or online. Food is a $5.75 trillion business in the U.S. alone – and controlling your future. Food bullying has become a trend taking away choice on farms and ranches across the world. Michele illustrates how trends in neuroscience and psychology are changing perceptions about farming, ranching, and agriculture as a whole. She also takes a lively look at where these trends have led to bullying within agriculture and how we can be more compassionate in our business.
Bring this program to your conference or webinar – contact Michele today to talk about a motivational keynote or hands-on workshop for your farm, ranch, or ag group. If you’re ready empower agriculture to expose how perceptions about food and farming have been manipulated, It’s time to bring “Take Food Bullying by the Horns” to your next meeting or virtual conference.
Leveraging the trust invested in farmers. Feel like consumers don’t understand where their food comes from? Frustrated by the way agriculture is portrayed in the media? Wondering why legislators don’t seem to value the agrifood business? Agricultural advocacy isn’t about the “warm fuzzies” – it’s about protecting our bottom line. This program will help leverage the trust invested in farmers and give participants 6.5 easy-to-remember tools to take back to members. Michele founded Cause Matters Corp. to give a voice to the people who feed the world – and this is her signature presentation. Re-inspire staff members to help defend the trust consumers have invested in agriculture. Brainstorm ideas about how to more effectively connect agriculture with consumers, the media, teachers and politicians who are generations removed from where food is grown. You’ll walk away from this workshop or webinar with:
- Farm gate, consumer plate, food, farming, agriculture speaker, professional motivational speaker, keynote speakerProven tools to stand up, step out and “sell” our cause
- Understanding hot buttons and why they’re so important to our cause
- How to successfully influence consumer, political and media groups
- Impact of environmental, animal welfare, anti-technology and other activist groups speaking out against agriculture
Not only will her lifelong passion and background in agriculture keep your audience on the edge of their seats, Michele’s interactive style will get them out of their seats and talking about their experiences! This workshop or webinar is a great way to excite your audience about new and innovative ways they can use to proactively speak out for agriculture.
How can you move beyond advocacy? Have you looked into agriculture’s future? Who will be making decisions about how farmers are allowed to take care of our land and animals? Not agriculture, if we can’t learn to meet at the intersection of farm and food. The pandemic has proven the need for reliability and accurate information about food. Do you have what it takes to translate today’s agriculture to grocery shoppers?
An international award winning author, Michele can help you understand how people look at food. Food Truths from Farm to Table: 25 Surprising Ways to Shop & Eat Without Guilt addresses myths throughout the grocery store to bring clarity and common sense to the food conversation. She embedded 25 food truths throughout the book to translate how food is grown, why modern practices are used and how marketing is misleading food buyers. The book, awarded a 2018 IPPY bronze medal in medicine, health and nutrition, includes stories of 55+ contributors to translate the science of today’s agriculture on a human level.
Move skills to another level with Translating Farm to Food, available for webinars or conferences. Advocacy and telling a story are wonderful, but can be rather one-sided. Translating what happens on today’s farms and ranches is key to connecting at a heart level. This eye opening keynote or virtual training will help your audience learn:
- Tips to distill technical issues such as animal welfare, GMOs, antibiotics, food safety, pesticides and hormones into simpler conversations.
- Techniques to translate the complex business of growing food, fuel, feed and fiber in real-life communications.
- Advanced methods to communicate why food is grown the right way by the right people for the right reasons.
- Leadership skills in the conversation around farm and food as a best business practice.
- Ways to easily integrate these skills across social media channels.
Bring Translating Farm to Food to your conference or webinar – contact Michele today to talk about she can customize this program your group! After all, food deserves to be celebrated, enjoyed and shared. The same could be said about the truth in food. If you’re ready for a different conversation about farm and food, this is the program for you.
Request Availability for Michele Payn
MICHELE PAYN, CSP
$2,500 - $5,000
Speaker fee falls within this range. For exact fee, please contact us.