Dragan College is tribute to long-time Albion farmer
Pete Dragan worked the fields locally for 75 years
ALBION – Pete Dragan used to joke with his employees that they were attending Dragan College, learning to fix machinery, plant and harvest crops, and get along with other people.
Dragan was a prominent local farmer for about 75 years. He grew soybeans and corn. He died at age 96 on Aug. 7, 2012.
His employees haven’t forgotten Dragan. They put up a sign last week that says, “Dragan College.” The sign is along Route 98, just south of the Village of Albion.
“Pete was a well-known man for starting new things,” said long-time employee Danny Wright.
If a Dragan employee or former worker needed a reference for a job, Dragan told them to put on their application that they went to Dragan College. It was a tongue-in-cheek expression that he repeated often.
Dragan’s daughter Diana Dragan Reed and the farm’s employees decided they wanted to honor Pete with a sign. Dennis Button made the sign and Jim Babcock made the supports. The sign went up last week, and it has lots of people talking about Dragan, who was once a frequent sight in the community with his white farm cars.
“I’m so thrilled that it’s been executed,” Dragan Reed said about the sign. “I thought it would be a great tribute to him.”
She lives in central Florida and has been helping with some of the farm administration. Dragan Farm is in the process of being acquired by two long-time Dragan employees, Steven Swiercznski and his cousin Tod Swiercznski. The sign is great tribute to her father, but she knows he would be most pleased the farm will continue and will keep the Dragan name.
“My father had farming in his blood,” Dragan Reed said. “He wanted to carry on the farm for his employees.”
Dragan Farm works nearly 2,000 acres of wheat and soybeans. It put up a new drying bin this year.
Dragan was active with the farm even at age 96, communicating with employees from his cell phone while he was in the hospital, his daughter said.
“He was talking until the very end, wanting to know what was going on with the farm,” she said. “His mind was very clear.”