Jenna Gregorich of Coshocton County is the editor of the June 2022 Growing our Generation enewsletter, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals. She is a past member of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation board of directors.
Hello, My name is Jenna Gregorich. I live in Coshocton County with my husband, Travis, and our 7-year-old daughter, Vera. We are not originally from Coshocton County and neither of us grew up on a farm, but our interests led us down this road and we are absolutely thankful for it. We currently have a cow-calf farm focusing on intensive grazing practices and make our own hay.
Travis and I both have off-farm jobs as well to support our farming habit. I work as Bird Health Programs manager for the Ohio Poultry Association. Through this role I have learned so much about poultry and egg production and all the things that go into bringing food to the table. My main responsibilities are to manage the Ohio’s National Poultry Improvement Plan program as well as coordinate efforts and preparation of Ohio’s Avian Influenza response plans. I’m fortunate to work with poultry farmer’s with five birds up to 5 million, and I am still fascinated by all the processes in place. Since many don’t have the opportunity to visit farms due to biosecurity, like myself before I worked at OPA, we’ve made some neat new videos on OPA’s Career Website to highlight all that goes into bringing eggs to the table. I truly love my job and the farmers I get to work with on a daily basis.
My husband, Travis, works for ISSG Inc. which specializes in Real Property Management software utilized by county government offices throughout Ohio. Between the two of us, we spend quite a few miles traveling around Ohio.
Travis and I have been Farm Bureau members since we moved to Coshocton 10 years ago. We started out in a community council group. Through that group of friends we were able to grow our farms together and help each other out to get started. Travis and I have both served on the county board and I currently sit as the vice president for our county. We’ve been able to get involved in fun activities and meet many great farming families so that we are now happy to call Coshocton County home.
How did you become involved in agriculture?
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I didn’t get involved in 4-H until high school but loved it. I’ve always liked working with animals which led me to pursuing a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences from The Ohio State University. I became involved with Farm Bureau in college to initially take advantage of all their many great scholarship opportunities and then learned more on what Farm Bureau does such as community programs and events. I had no idea or plans that all this would one day lead me to being a poultry farmer by day and beef farmer by night.
I tried different internships and jobs while at OSU which led to an internship then full-time position at Ohio Poultry Association. I had such an appreciation for poultry production I did work in commercial broiler production for five years. When the opportunity presented itself to return to OPA though I could not turn it down. During that time, I was also very fortunate that my employer offered to help pay for more schooling, so I was able to return to The Ohio State University part time to obtain my master’s of science degree.
I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth. What I truly love most or the people. With Farm Bureau and the poultry industry they are similar in the farming community is so welcoming even if you have no previous experience. If you show a willingness to learn and are open minded to trying new things, you will find so may people there to support you.
My biggest piece of advice would be to try new things. Take advantage of internships and job opportunities to network and you might be surprised on the things you find you most enjoy. An amazing experience I wish would have been around when I was in high school is the OFBF ExploreAg Program. They offer weekend and weeklong programs throughout the state visiting farms and exploring different agricultural careers.
I did college jobs from an artificial insemination tech to mowing grass for the OSU barns. My poultry career started because I took a part-time job feeding the birds at the OSU poultry barn which eventually led to my connections at OPA. I did not set out initially thinking about working in poultry, but my experiences led me that way and I honestly wouldn’t change a thing.
As a board member of Coshocton County Farm Bureau, I’ve been able to learn more about what Farm Bureau is all about. I participated in events such as the Young Agricultural Professionals trip to Washington, D.C. and Ag Day at the Capital that served as a deep dive of what Farm Bureau can offer. When the YAP position on the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Board was posted, I knew I wanted to go for it. I really did not know much about the OFB Foundation prior to my time on the board. I’ve been blown away learning all that the board does and it has deepened my appreciation for Farm Bureau as a whole even more.
This position on the foundation board was created at such an exciting time. The foundation has put a lot of effort into defining its focus and impact for the future. The caliber of directors on the OFB foundation board are unmatched not only in their career accolades but also in their enthusiasm and dedication to the foundation’s mission of inspiring innovation and cultivating investment in Ohio’s farm and food community. Our commitment as a board is to bring all branches of agriculture together to inspire young people of all backgrounds to show the amazing career opportunities agriculture can offer.
The foundation offers many scholarships; this year I served on one of the scholarship committees. Our committee had to decide between two individuals that we thought were both deserving, but we only had enough funds to award to one. A foundation board member who was also on the committee offered to donate another $1,000 so we could award both students the scholarship award. It was amazing to witness and speaks to the commitment of our foundation board members. Another heart-warming memory was the opportunity to hear from one of our Youth Pathways Grant recipients. This recipient hosts a summer camp for youth from various communities, socio-economic classes and ages and exposes them to a wide range of careers in agriculture beyond traditional farming. They were working on electrical systems and 3D printing to design bioreactor pods to turn methane into energy. Through my role on the foundation board, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about so many amazing and innovative programs like this.
Many current foundation board members started in Farm Bureau through their involvement in Young Ag Professionals programs. The board has been supportive and encouraging of my input and new ideas. My time on the board has flown by quickly.
What has been your favorite program within the foundation?
My favorite foundation program is ExploreAg. I loved meeting the students from a variety of backgrounds and interests and listening to what led them to participate in the camp. The caliber of students in attendance was very impressive. Reading about the camp is one thing but hearing about it from the participants and seeing how excited they were was something else entirely.
What are some of the connections you’ve made throughout your two years of service?
I personally love to hear people explain their career paths and the twists and turns that led them to where they are now. It’s a great learning experience for me to hear from the other board members, all who are very successful in their career fields. It was interesting and a good learning experience to hear about fellow board members career fields, many of which are not directly involved in agriculture. It has been a one-of-a-kind opportunity for networking and professional development.
I would absolutely recommend all YAP members to apply for this Foundation board position.
Farm Bureau does so much for its members; this is a great opportunity to learn more about the foundation and then spread the word on all the great work they do. Plus- it’s fun! You’ll get to experience a lot of fun new things like attending the Foundation golf outing and the Annual Meeting Foundation Breakfast.
What would you tell anyone who is interested in volunteering or supporting the foundation and how they can impact the future of our industry through their involvement?
There are so many ways to become involved in the foundation such as the annual golf outing in the summer every year, held on beautiful courses with great company. Tell young students about the amazing ExploreAg camps; they won’t regret participating. Apply today for the YAP foundation board position. Applications are due Aug. 1 by 5 p.m.
The best way to help the foundation is to make a gift! In 2022, we were able to award nearly $85,000 in scholarship support. That would not be possible without the generous donations that we receive. Make a gift today!
“On behalf of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Board of Directors, I would like to extend our gratitude for Jenna’s service on our board. Over the past two years, she has done an excellent job representing the values and perspectives of young agricultural professionals.” – Tara Durbin, chief lending officer, agriculture with Farm Credit Mid-America and president of the OFB Foundation