The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) is pleased to spotlight the 2017 winners of its Faces of Farming & Ranching program. The five winners span the country from Texas to Virginia and everywhere in between; and will help put real faces on agriculture!

The third class of the Faces of Farming and Ranching program are: Lauren Arbogast (broiler chicken, cow/calf and crop farmer from Virginia), Jeremy Brown (cotton, organic cotton, wheat, rye, grain sorghum, peanuts and sesame farmer from Texas), Emily Buck (ewe, soybeans, corn and wheat farmer from Ohio), Katie Roth (dairy farmer from Wisconsin), and Lauren Schwab (pig farmer from Ohio).

The winners will be active participants in the national dialogue about food production, and they will share their personal stories and experiences through public appearances, events, media interviews, and social media.

The new Faces of Farming & Ranching are excited to get to work - sharing their stories, creating a more open dialogue about how food is grown, and putting a real face and an expert voice on agriculture. We sat down with each of them to find out why they want to be one of the Faces of Farming and Ranching.

Lauren Arbogast: Being in the 2017 Faces of Farming and Ranching, means a deeper commitment to building relationships; not only here in Virginia, but across the U.S. Farmers are only 2% of the nation’s population, so through technology and through social media, that’s a way we can share with consumers and the other 98% to help people understand and continue the conversation about food. We need to do our part and share what’s going on at the farm.

Jeremy Brown: Being the face of farming and being able to tell people what we’re doing. We’re using different techniques, we’re using natural fertilizer, we’re using cover crops and trying to build soil health, we’re using pollinator habitats, whatever it may be—to make sure this land, water and natural resources are here for the long term. That’s what I love about farming, it’s like a canvas and you’re constantly trying to create something.

Emily Buck: I have a huge passion for rural lifestyle and agriculture. I’m so blessed to have a really cool off the farm job; I’m an associate professor at Ohio State University where I teach agricultural communications. It’s really exciting to me because I get to teach the next generation of agriculturalists how we talk about farming—not only to farmers, but also consumers. Being a face gives me that chance to reach a broader audience and have those tough conversations and help people understand that passion we have.

Katie Roth: I’m very genuine, I speak from the heart, I know consumers want transparency; and I’m willing to give that to them. Agriculture is an industry I love being a part of; it’s fun and exciting and I’m glad to work in it every day.

Lauren Schawb: I get really excited to tell people what we do on the farm. Today, with social media I’m able to connect with so many people; to post videos and pictures of the pigs on the farm, I know it makes a difference. I’ve learned that each conversation, photo and blog post is an opportunity to make a difference and gain confidence from people. To help them when they go to the grocery store, so they know the animal was treated well and the land was taken care of and they can feel good about what they’re eating.