Two Ohio women selected to be Faces of Farming

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Imagine it’s an early November morning. The sun is peaking over the trees as a farmer, layered up to stay warm, hikes to the barn through the cold morning, warm breath floating skyward.This brisk walk to the barn is nothing new for Emily Buck or Lauren Schwab, two newly selected members of the nationwide, five-member class of men and women serving as the “Faces of Farming and Ranching” with the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. These two Ohio women were selected to promote and advocate for agriculture through social media. They must also be comfortable talking with media in their new roles reaching out to consumers about agricultural issues.Their morning walks to the barn are used to go feed livestock, work on machinery, bond with loved ones, or even catch up on paper work before jumping into the day. Buck and Schwab share a common early morning routine but, after that, their days couldn’t take more different routes.Emily Buck lives in Marion with her husband, John, and daughter.“We farm close to a thousand acres of corn, soybeans and raise Southdown sheep,” Buck said.Her early morning walks to the barn are shared with John to go feed and water the sheep. She grew up on a sheep farm and is proud of the no-till farming practices employed on their farm. They have taken extensive measures to be conservation friendly with the crops as well as their livestock. Coming back inside from the barn, Buck gets her daughter Harlie up, dressed, and ready for the day. She drops her off at school and heads to Columbus where she is known as “Dr. Buck” to her students at The Ohio State University. She is an associate professor teaching within the department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership.“It’s exciting for me to do this as well because of my role at the university,” Buck said. “It’s important we practice what we teach. It’s also good for consumers to see that people with PhDs are farming. We are actually a smart group — very educated.”Along with her position at OSU, Buck has previously researched communication tools, visual research, and methods for efficiently communicating agriculture to consumers. A background involving research and teaching social media, in addition to personal experience, will be very beneficial in her new role as a national agricultural spokeswoman with the USFRA.When Buck is done with her day at OSU, she heads home to take food to the fields, go pick up parts, or run errands for John on the farm. Their daughter will be the fourth generation on the farm so there is always purposeful preparation and thought when looking to the future.“My weekends are all about cleaning barns, moving equipment, all while balancing a three-year-old that wants to help but isn’t quite big enough,” she shared with a laugh.Lauren Schwab is from Somerville in Butler County where she grew up on her family hog farm. She is now the manager of the farrowing house for the operation. For Schwab, a typical day starts by getting to the barn early and spending a majority of her day there.“Since we have few employees, I am doing a lot of hands-on work,” she said. “In the late morning after the feeding is done I’ll go work with breeding.”On Schwab’s farm, the 1,200 sows are all artificially inseminated leading them to wean about 1,100 to 1,200 piglets every other week.“They are mostly crossbred Yorkshire and Duroc,” she said. “This way they’re bred for their meat and docility.”Her afternoons are busy with farrowing and recording births, administering iron supplements, and sorting pigs, all while she keeps up with monitoring nursing and cleaning.Lauren SchwabPhoto by USFRA.She is a graduate of Miami University. Schwab received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in family studies. While at Miami University for both degrees, she focused on food insecurity and was able to relate it back to her life-long experiences with agriculture.“I like that I was able to go to school and get an education and bring those experiences and contacts back to help me connect with consumers,” Schwab said.Schwab writes a blog titled “Farm Girl with Curls.” While being busy on her farm, she keeps up with blog posts when she has time and tries to post on her social media at least once a week in ways that promote agriculture.“I know that every conversation, post, picture, makes a difference,” she said. “I share anything from my farm.”Schwab is also active in giving virtual farm tours through the Ohio Pork Council.“We have a webcam and show elementary kids the farm and they can see the pigs and know we have nothing to hide,” she said.Both of these talented agriculturalists feel that too often, it is over-looked that farmers are educated and are extremely qualified within the specifics of their farms as well as the industry. Looking ahead at their new roles within USFRA, both Ohioans were excited about their opportunity to educate and inform the public.“USFRA does great with taking the faces from different groups and using our differences and diversity to reach those groups,” Buck said. “I am excited there are two of us from Ohio. Lauren and I are very different in our practices and the type of people we can reach.”Her young age, but extensive agricultural experience, with serve Schwab well in her new role.“For me, it’s good to represent all of agriculture but being a young woman, I’m not a wife or mother yet so I can connect with other millennials and young farmers in the industry,” Schwab said.Both are eager to speak with consultants and different audiences than they are used to. They will be facing concerned consumers head on.“I am really looking forward to those conversations with people and hearing the concerns they have to help them be more confident in what they’re purchasing,” Schwab said. “This will broaden my own perspective of where they are coming from as well.”In their new roles with USFRA, Buck and Schwab have a yearlong commitment to travel 30 days through their term and speak with consumer-based media. At these different conferences and events, a majority of their time will be spent talking about modern farming practices while educating and informing consumers without an agriculture background. Common topics that may also be addressed include GMOs, the use of GPS, and nutritional value of foods. Schwab mentioned she is also eager to speak with women who make purchasing decisions regarding food for their families.The misconceptions of harm coming from science and technology will undoubtedly surface as well.“I am not nervous about anything. There may be some negative audiences but people with open minds and questions should trust my answers and think I am truthful,” Schwab said.Buck is eager to talk about water quality and technology with the crowds she will address. Her farm is actually on two watersheds, the Lake Erie and the Mississippi, which may bring up environmental and water quality concerns. With sheep on her farm as well, she is prepared to talk about animal handling and care.Having livestock and crops gives her the ability to show the entire circle and touch on both sides of production ag when speaking to consumers.“I’ll be able to share and ease the concerns that reporters and others are talking with us about,” Buck said. “We are very proud of our no-till farming and conservation friendly practices with the crops as well as the livestock.” These two ladies have very different roles on the farm and professional careers, but their common agricultural experience will serve to educate consumers around the country. And each day for these two talented Ohioans serving as the Faces of Farming, it all starts with a trip to the barn.last_img

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