SALEM, Ohio — New leadership is taking over in the newsroom at Farm and Dairy, but they’re familiar names to readers of the 109-year-old publication.
Farm and Dairy Publisher Scot Darling announced that Rachel Wagoner stepped into the position of editor of Farm and Dairy, effective July 10. Wagoner is replacing Rebecca Miller, who left the company in June.
“She is likely a familiar name to many as she has served the last four of those years as a staff writer for Farm and Dairy, producing award-winning work as recognized by the North American Agricultural Journalists and the National Newspaper Association,” Darling said.
Additionally, digital editor Sara Welch was promoted to managing editor to replace Aimee Tenzek, who worked in Farm and Dairy’s editorial department for 17 years.
“Her keen eye for detail, excellent copy-editing skills and deep familiarity with our stories make her a great fit for the job,” Darling said, of Welch.
Wagoner always dreamed of being a journalist, but she came to agriculture in a roundabout way. She grew up in Darlington, Pennsylvania, a rural part of Beaver County that borders Ohio. After college, she settled down in her hometown with a fourth-generation farm boy who grew up just over the hill from where she was raised.
She co-manages the family farm, Tall Pines Farms, with her husband and in-laws raising beef cattle and sheep. Wagoner and husband Chris have a 4-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter.
Wagoner is a proud state school graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mass media arts, journalism and communication studies from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.
She has over a decade of newsroom experience. She worked at several daily and weekly newspapers throughout western Pennsylvania, covering everything from education and community news to police and courts.
While at Farm and Dairy, Wagoner grew and deepened the newspaper’s energy coverage to explore how the clean energy transition is impacting rural communities and how the legacy of fossil fuel extraction is still impacting farmers today. She has won state, national and international awards for her writing and reporting, including stories on farmer suicide and mental health, beginning farmers and the dairy industry.
Welch grew up in the southeast corner of Portage County, Ohio, and attended Kent State University. She earned a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism with a business minor.
The bulk of Welch’s professional career prior to Farm and Dairy was spent in the sports department of the Record-Courier where she stretched a summer internship into five years of high school sports reporting as a freelancer and a staff writer.
She also worked at The Vindicator early in her career and did freelance work for SB Nation.
Some career highlights include covering the Mogadore High School football team’s journey to the state championship in 2015, the women’s basketball NCAA Final Four in 2016 and the NBA Finals in 2015 and 2016.
She traded second-shift and long nights on the road for a quiet office in the back of the building, writing web content, when her daughter started kindergarten. In the seven years since, she’s fallen in love with conservation, wildlife and northeast Ohio’s unique ecosystems; she’s grown to respect the long hours and incredible risks farmers face every day and she’s written hundreds of how to’s featured on farmanddairy.com.
Welch couldn’t be more excited to work with Wagoner, writing Farm and Dairy‘s next chapter, and she’s looking forward to connecting with readers across the rural landscapes of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
(Editor Rachel Wagoner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-201-1544. Managing Editor Sara Welch can be reached at email@example.com.)
- Sara Welch’s intro column, Not quite a farm kid
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