Meet Michele

Speaking from the intersection of farm & food,     head & heart.

Food farmer speaker Michele

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 conversation between farm gate and food plate, developing strategy, or building an advocacy plan. Widely known as a "change agent," Michele delivers training programs and motivational keynotes to empower organizations to build connected communities.

Entrepreneur.

Utilizing her diverse professional experience in the agricultural, sales and not-for-profit sectors, Michele founded Cause Matters Corp., a company designed to build 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 grow solutions. Michele's goal is to help you communicate "why your cause matters" - whether you're a scientist, dietitian or in agribusiness.

Farm girl. Mom. Science enthusiast.

She knows agriculture because she lives agriculture. Payn holds degrees in Agricultural Communications and Animal Science from Michigan State University, where she saw science come to life firsthand as a student worker in the animal reproductive physiology laboratory. Michele 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 for various Foundation expansions. 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.

MPK, Michele Payn, ag speaker, agriculture speaker, food speaker, professional speaker, certified speaking professional, work boots, heels

Michele wears a variety of shoes connecting farm gate to food plate to fork - and helps others learn to do the same.

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 daughter, making memories with friends, traveling, coaching 4-H & FFA members and cheering on the Michigan State Spartans.

Author. Food translator.

Michele has been baking since she was a young girl, but became a full-fledged foodie when she lived in Italy for a summer. She wrote the two-sided book "No More Food Food Fights! Growing a Productive Farm & Food Conversation" to encourage farm and food people to reach across the plate to find commonalities. Her new book, "Food Truths from Farm to Table: 25 Ways to Shop & Eat Without Guilt" will be released in early 2017 to bring clarity to grocery shopping and address food marketing myths.

Innovator.

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.Member_NSA

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, a designation awarded to CSPless than 10% of professional speakers globally.

Michele founded #AgChat and #FoodChat, a weekly moderated discussion on Twitter, in April 2009. Tens of thousands of people from more than 20 countries have participated in this highly visible conversation around food and farm issues.  This community nominated Michele as one of Mashable's Top Three AgChat FoundationTwitter User's of the Year in 2009, putting agriculture alongside celebrities. Michele was one of the founding AgChat Foundation's board members in 2010 to grow the story of farmers, ranchers and agvocates in social media.

Michele measures success in conversations around the food plate by people who are willing to reach out to help make their cause matter. In celebration of this, Cause Matters Corp. awarded 10 food and ag organizations grants on its 10th anniversary. The company will continue that tradition with 15 Cause Forward grants this year in celebration of 15 years of building farm and food connections...stay tuned.

A note from Michele

Looking for Michele's introduction for use at your event? See the Meeting Planners Page. 

Connect with Michele today!

Contact Michele to learn more about her keynotes, training, consulting, or writing. You can also check out Cause Matters Corp. in the media or connect with @mpaynspeaker throughout social media.

6 Comments

  1. Pamela Sweeten on April 28, 2008 at 9:40 am

    GREAT SITE!!!

    Thanks.

    Pamela Sweeten
    AAW Speciality Crops, Fruit and Vegetable Chairperson



  2. Art Nor on May 14, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    You need to include the Sierra Club in your anti-agriculture groups. Here’s the link that shows why:
    http://www.sierraclub.org/factoryfarms/nightmare_documentary.asp



  3. Jim Quinn on June 4, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Great site. Great idea. Is there some reason that agriculture can’t find a few celebrities to help tell the facts about agriculture. I also have a question that I hope someone can answer. I was reading an article yesterday that kept talking about animal rights. How did animals come by all of these rights? Was there a vote that I didn’t know about? My dogs have never told me about any of their rights.

    Jim Quinn



  4. Elizabeth on October 15, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    I admire and work with agricultural producers. I have studied agroecosystems and care deeply about rural communities. I recognize the value of technology and progress. I appreciate balanced dialogue with many perspectives.

    Your site inspires and concerns me. Frankly, I think you are creating an uphill battle for yourself and ag communities across America by taking steps as simple as labelling potential future partners as ‘Anti-Agriculture Groups’.

    I would encourage you to reframe the dialogue, and to do it quickly. Your most recent post regarding the NY Times Sunday Food Magazine indicates that you would agree with the importance of a fair, balanced, and represenative discussion on the issues.

    However, the ‘us vs. them’ overtones in the materials you reference (such as antibiotictruths.com) may simply serve to marginalize the wealth of experience ag producers contribute, while limiting their unique knowledge on how food should be raised. As it stands, the materials sound defensive rather than engaged in the dialogue.

    I encourage you to maintain your enthusiasm and passion for our communities, but to restructure your approach for shared awareness rather than adversarial politicking. If balance and representation for future decision-making is indeed your original intent, perhaps we all might be better served by simply rephrasing our ideas for a collaborative discussion so that this valuable perspective is not misinterpreted by the growing number of interested individuals on the subject.

    Best of luck in your endeavors, and thank you for the opportunity to comment.



  5. […] the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.  Still not convinced?  Listen to the inspiring ag communicator Michele Payn-Knoper (@mpaynknoper on twitter and founder of #agchat) discuss why the ag community needs a voice in […]



  6. Denis on March 10, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    The groups you list on the right aren’t Anti-Agriculture. They’re pro-compassion. What do you think vegans eat, if not the products of agriculture?