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Lauren Langley: From First-gen Farmer to Livestock Agent

Growing up on a first-generation family farm, Lauren Langley didn’t always have the background knowledge of agriculture and raising livestock. She had to figure out the odds and ends of farming herself, and much of that learning came through her involvement in  4-H, FFA, and rodeo. But whether her family had deep farming roots or not, she knew one thing: she was passionate about agriculture, especially raising livestock. Her passion for agriculture and livestock has guided many decisions throughout her life, including her studies at NC State and decision to pursue a career in extension. Today, Langley serves as the Livestock Extension Agent for Alamance County in Northern NC.

Lauren Langley
Lauren Langley

From a young age, Langley knew she wanted to be involved in agriculture, specifically livestock. Langley grew up showing dairy calves in 4-H, participating in FFA contests and officer roles, and NC High School Rodeo. However, It wasn’t until she came to NC State that she was introduced to agricultural education as a career path, and more specifically, extension education. Although agricultural business was her first choice of major, she quickly realized her passion was in helping people and making a difference through education. Langley graduated from NC State in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural education. By 2016, she had obtained her Master’s in agricultural and extension education (AEE) from NC State as well.  

During her time at NC State, Langley was very involved in clubs, intramural sports, and campus life. Within the Agricultural and Human Sciences department, her advisors and professors, Mark Kistler and Jackie Bruce were both very supportive during her academic journey.  While she had many great professors along the way, one in particular stands out – Bob Patterson, crop science assistant professor, with whom she has had many great and inspirational conversations. Patterson is well-known among the NC State agricultural community, and if you have had the chance to meet him, there’s a good chance he’s left you with a great, perhaps inspirational conversation as well. Gerald Huntington was another professor that impacted and believed in Langley, enough to allow her to be his teaching assistant as an undergrad for his beef cattle management course. Although her professors were vital to her education, Langley’s most educational experience at NC State was her summer extension education internship. Langley refers to her internship with Catham County Extension as “the single best opportunity NC State provided me with that prepared me for my career.” She says the people there helped shape and mentor her, still keeping in touch 12 years later.  

Langley with members of her youth livestock team

When asked who inspires her, Langley replied “First and foremost is my dad.  We are a first-generation farm family and he really paved the way for my sister and I. He has always supported me and encouraged me to follow my dreams.” Another mentor of hers is Sam Groce, retired County Extension Director and Livestock Extension Agent in Chatham County. During her internship, Groce inspired her with the work he was doing in Extension and the relationships he had made. He continues to inspire Langley with his knowledge, helpfulness, and tenacity to excel in the private sector, even after retirement. 

As the livestock extension agent for Alamance County, Langley’s primary responsibility is to  educate youth and adults about livestock and forages. Langley is also the coach for the youth livestock team(s), which consists of judging, skillathon, and quiz bowl. She also assists with youth programming for the summer, livestock/dairy/poultry shows, etc. Her adult programming consists of workshops, conferences, and classes on various topics and consultations such as office and farm visits, phone calls, and through virtual meetings. Langley plans to continue her career as a livestock extension agent over the next several years as she really enjoys helping farmers and citizens improve their livestock operations and livability. She also sees herself being an animal science specialist in some capacity if the opportunity arises later on down the road.

Lauren Langley

Langley’s work and role as the Livestock Extension Agent is vital to her community. Most of the clients she works with are dependent on livestock and/or forages to make a living, or at least supplement their living by raising livestock and/or forages. “If I can help them make or save money while doing so, and educate them along the way, I feel like that has a significant impact on their life.” At the end of the day, Langley strives to help people reach their personal goals and that in itself is important work. Extension has been the perfect career choice for Langley, and she has been the perfect fit for it. The fact that Extension is a form of non-formal education was very appealing to her. She truly enjoys helping people and educating them about livestock and forages, whether that be at the office or in the field. “I like educating people hands-on out in the pasture, but also having the flexibility of making educational videos or leading a webinar in my job.” Being very self-driven and incorporating creativeness in her work, Extension allows Langley to help people the best way she knows how.