How raising turkeys helps raise a family

Modesty and excellence are cornerstones of the Pozderac family and farm in Mount Vernon. Winners of the 2017 Ohio State Fair Market Turkey Show, siblings Maribeth and Milan Pozderac are not ones to brag of their many accomplishments. Third generation Farm Bureau members with a rich history of agriculture in the family, these two have embraced opportunities through 4-H and FFA since they were old enough to walk.

“There is no bigger responsibility than taking care of an animal,” Milan Jr. said as he elaborated on the many benefits that showing and caring for animals has brought to him and his family. Milan now 19, Maribeth, 16 and their older sister Abby, 20, began showing sheep in pee-wee classes, branching out to hogs and turkeys as they grew older.

The Pozderac family: Maribeth, Milan Jr., KIm, Milan and Abby

“I grew up in agriculture, and I could see all the benefits from it, the lessons I learned, and I wanted that experience for them,” said their mother, Kim. Their house and barn are full of ribbons and trophies from the many classes in which they have competed, including grand and reserve titles at both their local Knox County Fair and the Ohio State Fair.

FFA has been the gateway to many of these experiences for the Pozderac family.

“It helped to teach them the expanse of agriculture, not just corn farming or dairy cows, it’s so much more advanced than that,” said Milan Sr. “These kids got to grow up understanding that, I didn’t. Growing up understanding how big agriculture really is, that’s such an important thing.”

All three children have participated in a wide range of Career Development Events and Supervised Agricultural Experiences through FFA, from soils, to public speaking, job interviews and much more. Their leadership accomplishments also run in the family, with Milan and Abby both serving as state FFA officers and Maribeth, a high school junior, currently serving as her chapter’s vice president.

These dedicated showmen have exhibited commitment to not only their own animals and projects, but also the community as a whole. That was apparent last year when avian influenza swept the state. Instead of exhibiting at the fair and risking infection, Maribeth raised 25 turkeys last year and sold them, donating all of the profits to Samaritan’s Purse, a non-denominational evangelical Christian International Relief organization.

“FFA has really helped me with my goal setting and always working towards something bigger,” Maribeth said.

Photos submitted by the Pozderac Family and Lyndsey Murphy