Lauren Schwab Eyre has carefully and intentionally cultivated her image as a “farm girl with curls.” She not only works on her family’s pig farm near Somerville, but she’s also a well-known agricultural ambassador who uses every opportunity she can to get the message out about her career of choice.
“Not every farmer has a talent or passion for communicating; like my dad, they just love being out in the barnyard taking care of their animals every day and have no interest in going on Facebook or Instagram or YouTube to talk about the farm,” Lauren says. “I have found that I have a talent and a passion for that, and I can use that to tell his story and that of other farmers. There are a lot of misconceptions out there, and if we as farmers aren’t telling our stories, someone else will, and a lot of times, the right messages don’t come across.”
Lauren’s father, Jeff Schwab, is a first-generation farmer who started the family’s pig farm right out of high school. He eventually decided to concentrate on breed-to-wean, and the business, a member of Butler Rural Electric Cooperative, now is home to 1,200 breeding sows that produce around 1,200 piglets every other week.
As farrowing house manager, it’s Lauren’s job to care for those piglets until they’re old enough to wean and move along to another Ohio farmer to be raised for market.
“While the farm started as my dad’s dream, I developed a real satisfaction from working here,” she says. “I want to continue helping him as long as I can.”
As kids, Lauren and her brother, Ryan, spent a lot of time in the barnyard with their dad. He taught them about the importance of caring for animals. Lauren says she came to feel satisfied caring for the pigs, getting them off to a good start and helping to give them the best life possible. She also knew that she was a part of something bigger — helping to feed people around the world.
While in high school, her flair for writing and public speaking blossomed through FFA and her school newspaper. Lauren was the 2008 Ohio Pork Industry queen and the Butler County Junior Fair queen. She went on to study journalism at Miami University, where she wrote about agriculture and found that she was sharing a story and a culture with people who typically would not hear about it.
Now, along with those 10-hour (or longer) days caring for the piglets, Lauren also travels, writes, and blogs at www.farmgirlwithcurls.com. She has served as a national agriculture ambassador for the FFA, presenting workshops to schools and civic organizations, and as an ambassador for the Ohio Pork Producers Council. She also was selected as one of the “New Faces of Farming” by the Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.
“There are so many conferences I go to as part of winning these awards that make it seem like everyone is aware of the agriculture business, but then I have to remind myself that it’s less than 1 percent of the population who are farmers,” Lauren says. “That means there are a lot of people out there we need to reach, and it means a lot to me personally to be able to do my part.”