Connecting farm & food, head & heart.

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, motivational keynotes, and thought-provoking webinars to empower you 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.

Farm girl. Mom. Science enthusiast.

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.

International award winning author. Food translator.

IPPY Gold Medal

Michele's latest book was selected as the gold medal recipient from among 4,500 books entered in the Independent Publishers Book Awards (IPPY), the world's largest book contest.

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., was just named an International Book Award Finalist and 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.

(Shortened bio  for promotional use)

Michele Payn, CSP, connects the people and science of food and farming as principal of Cause Matters Corp. She is known for being a community catalyst, a passionate advocate for global agriculture - and antagonizing people into action. Michele has worked with farmers in more than 25 countries, raised over $5 million in sponsorships for the National FFA Foundation and founded AgChat and FoodChat on Twitter. She is the author of three books: Food Bullying, a #1 best seller & IPPY gold medalist; Food Truths from Farm to Table, an IPPY bronze medal winner; No More Food Fights!; and hosts the Food Bullying Podcast. Michele's degrees are in Agricultural Communications and Animal Science from Michigan State University. She has earned the Certified Speaking Professional designation, awarded to less than 10% of professional speakers globally. She resides with her 'city slicker' husband and cow-loving daughter on a small farm in central Indiana. She enjoys Registered Holsteins, the MSU Spartans, and making memories with friends around the table. Michele connects conversations around the food plate at and socially through @mpaynspeaker.

Connect with Michele today!

Contact Michele to learn more about her speaking, training, livestreaming, or consulting. Let her create something unique for your meeting.


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



    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:

  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 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?