J.L. and Jessica Draganic are editors of the Oct. 9, 2017 Growing our Generation enewsletter, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.
We are J.L. and Jessica Draganic from outside Jeffersonville, Ohio. This is our story. Both our relationship and family are built on a foundation of faith, family and farming. While we write this it sounds pretty cliché, but describes us very well. Both of us have deep ties to volunteerism and agriculture. Ten years ago Jessica moved back to Ohio after living in Arizona after college, and took a job with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation as an organization director in northeast Ohio. Jessica had held several internships with Farm Bureau in college, so she thought she had an idea of what it was she was getting into. Little did she know, but taking that job changed our lives.
We became friends, J.L. moved to southern Ohio to farm full time with his uncle, and we started dating. Jessica followed to southern Ohio, we got married, had two kids; and the rest is history. As you can see, we owe and respect Farm Bureau for so much – for bringing us together. And after we got married and Jessica took a job in agriculture lending, and J.L. continues to farm with his aunt and uncle on Ricketts Farm, Inc. We still see such value and importance in both Farm Bureau and volunteering for agriculture organizations.
Focusing on our strengths
Jessica is a graduate of Ohio Farm Bureau’s AgriPOWER Class VIII. In April, she wrote: AgriPOWER Class VIII is about to wrap up with our final session; during the past seven sessions our group of 24 has had the privilege of growing together as a group and as individuals. As an agriculture professional, I have the opportunity to be included in numerous professional development training activities, but this experience has been one of the most rewarding programs I have participated in.
During our sessions we focused on becoming better employees and learning more about ourselves. I recognize that I have strengths and weakness, and rather than working on my weakness I will build on my strengths. Every session touched on some aspect of agriculture outreach; how can I tell my story so that the public has a chance to understand the agriculture community better? Read entire blog
Young Ohio cattleman jumped into the beef industry
J.L. was honored to be featured in Farm and Dairy newspaper back in March. Writer Catie Noyes said: J.L. took a big leap when he decided to go to work for his aunt and uncle, managing the beef herd in Fayette and Madison counties. This past year he was named Young Cattleman of the Year, by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, and co-chaired the Ohio Beef Expo for the second year.
You can make more of many things, but land and time are two that are so precious to farm families and are not able to be reproduced. Jessica volunteers on the Fayette County Farm Bureau board of trustees now and J.L. serves on the local Fayette County Cattlefeeders board as well as being a state board member with the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association. It is important to give back to this community, and balance time commitments. Sometimes this balance gets away from us, but we believe in helping the younger generation have the same and better opportunities that we had.
Money helps, but volunteers make the actions take place. We want to pass along the traits of servant leadership to our children, Amelia and John Arthur. And as they get older, they join us on more and more of these volunteer adventures. Like many farm families, our date nights and vacations are actually annual meetings and national conventions. We hope that while we missed dinner one or two nights, that they see what we were able to accomplish with our time and actions and feel inspired to volunteer in their lives.