Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

I belong to... AgChat: Laura Daniels

Published on 06 February 2014

Laura Daniels, member of AgChat

Age: 38



Location: Cobb, Wisconsin

History of your dairy, in a nutshell: My husband, Jarred Searls, and I both grew up on farms and wanted to raise our family the same way. We believe the farm is the best place for Nathan, 13, and Julia, 8, to learn our values.

They see how we care for our employees, cattle and land with gentleness as we produce food to nourish people. We bought our dairy in 2005 – before we were both nutritionists, he in beef and I in dairy. Jarred feeds the cows each morning, then heads out on the road as a beef nutrition consultant for Vita Plus.

I serve as the general manager of Heartwood Farm and also do consulting on team building and labor management for Star Blends Feeds. We milk 300 Jersey cows and run about 600 acres of cropland and pasture.

Christopher Shnuelle-Simons is our herd manager and Scott Larson is farm manager; they, along with six other employees, make up our team at Heartwood Farm.


Why did you join this organization? I really wanted to explore how social media could be used to reach people who have questions about how their food is produced.

I attended several awesome workshops led by Agvocates from AgChat, and as I have grown my skills in social media, AgChat has continued to evolve, constantly offering more to learn and new opportunities to connect with consumers and other really smart and energetic farmers.

A little-known fact about AgChat is … AgChat has grown to include a very active foundation. They are a great source of speakers and trainers on social media in person.

My favorite representative or employee of AgChat is … there are really so many great people involved, it is hard to choose, but I would have to say Carrie Mess, aka Dairy Carrie. She is an incredibly passionate person; she is also one of the first online friends I made who now is a great partner for advocacy in the real world.

What AgChat does best is … no doubt, AgChat is the best organization for training and inspiring farmers to share their stories through social media.

I feel valued as a member when … we can have a huge impact, like when AgChat and Tyson Foods joined forces to raise $50,000 in just one night for the cattle ranchers in South Dakota. Tyson Foods donated $10 for every tweet that mentioned #rancherrelief. It was just so cool.


An influential or interesting person I’ve met through AgChat is … Janice Person on Twitter; she is @jplovescotton

She is influential or interesting because ... well, she is a rock star when it comes to social media, but more than that she is so smart and has a respectful approach to each and every conversation she has. Through her involvement with social media, she has made connections with people all over the world.

The dairy industry’s greatest opportunity is … people. The people we feed; we need to build their trust in us. And the people we employ; we need to be sure they understand how to do their important jobs well.

I hope my dairy legacy is … make my grandpa Everett and my dad, Bob, proud, create a place for our children to thrive so they can chase their passion, whatever it might be, and leave our farm better than we found it so whoever takes it over has a chance to succeed.

My advice to all dairymen/dairywomen is … oh, I’m not ready to give advice yet, I’m much more interested in receiving it. Thanks to the many brilliant farmers who have shared their ideas and solutions with us. PD

AgChat Foundation
P.O. Box 196
Elko, MN 55020
(651) 341-0430
Contact by email

Year organized: 2009

More than 2,000 people from seven countries have participated in #AgChat since it started in April 2009. And that’s only the beginning.

Empower farmers and ranchers to connect communities through social media platforms.