Arbogast now new ‘Face’ of social media outreach plan

KANSAS CITY (Nov. 22, 2016) — Lauren Arbogast, a broiler chicken, cow/calf and crop farmer in Rockingham County, Va., was recently announced as one of the 2017 winners of its Faces of Farming & Ranching program.
Unveiled at the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention, the five farmers will devote a year to participating in a number of activities to reach out to consumers, including national media interviews, public appearances, blog posts for and active involvement in U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance social media channels.
They receive a $15,000 stipend to cover their time and efforts away from the farm.
Located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Arbogast, 34, said her family is proactive about water quality.
All the ponds on the farm are fenced to keep the cattle out as are the streams that flow through the farm.
There are also buffers on all the streams.
She and her husband, Brian, own 600 acres and rent an additional 1,200.
Most of the 1,800 acres they manage are pastured for their 450-cow commercial herd. Most of the cows are Angus and Angus cross and they breed with Angus and Charolais bulls.
Calves are born from mid-March to mid-April and are weaned at about 500 pounds in the fall.
They raise the cattle to 800 pounds before selling them at auction. In addition, the family has five chicken houses.
On the roughly 300 acres that are cropland, the family grows corn rye and barley for cattle feed.
She recently completed the VALOR program, which is a two-year leadership development program through Virginia Tech. The fellows traveled within Virginia exploring local agriculture and the program culminated with international trip and tour of agriculture in Vietnam.
Arborgast works off the farm as a learning designer for Vivayic, Inc. Her previous work experience includes a position with Virginia Cooperative Extension working specifically with Farm-to-School, and the Buy Fresh Buy Local program. Prior to this career change, she was a teacher in Harrisonburg City Public Schools, Arbogast tried to bring as much farm into the classroom as possible. This effort culminated with two awar
ds: Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom “Teacher of the Year,” as well as the National Agriculture in the Classroom/USDA “Teaching Agriculture Excellence” Award.
Arbogast said she was encouraged to apply to be a Face of Farming and Ranching by the Virginia Farm Bureau and Farm Credit of Virginia. She was reluctant to apply because she didn’t grow up in agriculture, rather she has learned it over the past 11 years since marrying her husband.
She added she’s excited to have the opportunity to continue reaching out to consumers as she does through social media.
“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.,” Arbogast said. “Farmers are only 2 percent 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 percent 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.”
Arborgast blogs at and is active on twitter, instagram, facebook and snapchat.
The five winners span the country from Virginia to Texas.
Joining Arborgast in the third class of the Faces of Farming and Ranching program are Jeremy Brown from Texas, Emily Buck and Lauren Schwab from Ohio and Katie Roth from Wisconsin.