Jenna Gregorich from Coshocton County is the editor of the June 3, 2019 Growing our Generation enewsletter, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.
Hello! We are Travis and Jenna Gregorich of Coshocton County. We have a spunky daughter named Vera (4) and run a cow calf operation and raise hay. With neither of us coming from a farm, help from family, friends and neighbors has made this lifestyle possible.
Travis and I have called Coshocton County home for the past eight years. Before that, we met at The Ohio State University where we both attended the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
Though neither of us are originally from the area, (Travis from Wayne County and I’m from Warren County), it has proven to be a great fit for us to set up shop and start our dreams of owning a farm. Travis and I both somewhat grew up around agriculture but not on a farm. We chose Coshocton County because of land affordability and it was in the middle of our work commutes at the time.
The goal of moving to Coshocton County was to invest in land. Our first mini farm was large enough to give us a start into this farming lifestyle. As we built up our equipment and livestock, we leased farms to get us by until we could find a farm in which we could grow and would fit our family. Both Travis and I work off farm jobs to help support the cause. Travis works as a GIS account manager and Jenna works at Ohio Poultry Association.
Travis works off farm for Bruce Harris and Associates based out of Batavia, Illinois. He travels around the state working with various local government officials to develop enterprise level Geographic Information Systems. The primary focus is land records and real estate assessment.
I am the Bird Health Programs manager for the Ohio Poultry Association. OPA acts as the official state agency for the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP), which ensures birds moving both in and out of state are free of any reportable diseases. I work with the Ohio Department of Agriculture and USDA as a liaison for Ohio’s poultry producers, large and small, on biosecurity and Ohio’s avian disease response plans. Check out OPA’s website for more information on many great promotional programs.
Our original property had more of an emphasis on hunting over agriculture but as our farming passion grew the priorities changed. We originally started with four ewes and not a clue of what we were doing. Over the course of four years, our flock grew to 25 Dorset Polypay cross ewes. As our animal numbers grew we began to lease farms to make hay and got into the cattle business as well.
With the purchase of a new farm last year in Dresden, we unfortunately had to sell our flock due to lack of facilities. We hope to one day get back into raising sheep. With our farm purchase, we also inherited 35 brood cows with calves. We now own enough land to support our brood cows, make hay and yet still have some room to grow.
In order to purchase our farm we took advantage of a farm ownership program under USDA’s FSA program, which was a joint venture with Farm Credit. We hope to begin construction on our forever home this summer.
As many of the other Young Ag Professionals folks out there know, raising a family working full-time jobs while trying to pursue our passion of agriculture definitely has its challenges. We are very fortunate to live a rural area that has many other young couples seeking similar opportunities. Both college and Farm Bureau have led to valuable friendships and community support. Projects varying from fence building to roofing have been possible from our friends and family. It takes a village to build a first generation farm. It can be challenging seeing others taking vacations while we save and work hard to have something to leave our daughter one day. Some days are harder than others are, but what keeps us going is the amazing community agriculture has introduced us to. It truly gives us purpose that we are helping to responsibly raise food for an ever-growing population and hopefully instill a hard work ethic and wholesome morals for our daughter.
Travis currently serves as vice president of the Coshocton County Farm Bureau board. Farm Bureau has proven as a great way to meet others in the county. Over the last couple of years, our board has been great in planning more YAP programs that have been fun and great in community involvement. Some upcoming county activities we are excited for this summer are a YAP canoe trip and Dinner on the Farm. I have also been able to participate in YAP’s annual Washington, D.C. trip which was an awesome learning experience and yet very fun.