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Not too long ago, Bruce and Carlene Patterson made a decision that would impact the rest of their lives. They sold their family farm in Portage County and moved to central Ohio to be closer to their son, CarlVon, and his family.
It wasn’t an easy decision.
Bruce majored in agriculture at Ohio State University and was a teacher for 42 years. Carlene majored in nursing at Ohio State and practiced for over 35 years. Over 60 years, they raised Polled Hereford cattle, hay, a large garden, and two children on the farm in Ravenna, Ohio, where Bruce himself was raised.
Bruce and Carlene’s deep love for agriculture was evident in this major life decision: They sold their farm to a couple who was married on the farm and who plans to “continue the Patterson family farm tradition.”
Carrying on the tradition of the family farm has always been an important part of the Patterson family story. For years Bruce was one of the most prolific membership volunteers in Portage County. He earned multiple Murray Lincoln awards for bringing 50 or more members into the Farm Bureau family each year.
Eyeing the sustainability of Farm Bureau through new memberships, as well as taking a keen interest in the next generation of farmers, took on another meaning in 2017 with the establishment of The Bruce and Carlene Patterson Educational Fund. Over the last five years, the program has provided Portage County students with agricultural scholarships.
“The Patterson fund also provides strategic opportunities across Ohio. It encourages young people and helps farmers,” Bruce said.
Enhancing the commitment to the fund upon their passing was part of the plan, but at their son CarlVon’s urging, the Pattersons decided to grow the fund sooner.
“By giving funds now, we get to see the results,” Bruce said. “The foundation was a natural place to make the investment and be able to watch it flourish.”
CarlVon, who spent 25 years at Nationwide in various technical and business roles, will oversee the family’s philanthropic endeavors, which includes both sustaining the scholarship and making a strategic impact on the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation’s focus on workforce development.
“Farming is our first love,” Carlene said. “The Patterson Fund will help young people get established in agriculture by providing education.”
“The Ohio Farm Bureau promotes agriculture at the county, state and national levels,” Bruce added. “Farm Bureau makes it easier for young people to study agriculture.”
CarlVon said that hard work, a strong work ethic and determination are values that his family holds dear and that they are also Farm Bureau values. This is part of what brought him back “home” to agriculture after years of working in Columbus and living in the suburbs. It’s also why he encouraged his parents to make their gift sooner rather than later.
“The future is where we live,” CarlVon said. “There was no reason to wait if they could do it now. The actions we take now drive the outcome of the future, and it’s vital we plan for tomorrow. Farm Bureau’s needs are urgent and we are blessed to have an opportunity to share.”
Invest in the future of agriculture today
You can help to ensure Ohio’s farming legacy remains strong, our industry thrives and our products grow in innovation and value. Join the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation in supporting the agriculture professionals of tomorrow. With your contribution, we will fill our agricultural workforce for the next decade and beyond. Join us on Nov. 29 as we celebrate Giving Tuesday, a national day of philanthropy. Visit ofbf.org/donate to make your gift!
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