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CropTalk: When The Stars Align

December 2021

Published on Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Ronnie Clifton has five zebras, flies a single-engine plane, and has been to South Africa 27 times. He is a farmer, a veteran, a dad to two, a grandpa to four, and his blood type is O+.

Ronnie became a Beck’s customer nearly 15 years ago after taking a helicopter ride with the Beck family. He manages a medium-sized farm operation growing corn and soybeans and enjoys raising 20 cows and his five zebras.

Nearly ten years ago, Ronnie was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. As his condition progressed, Ronnie was placed on a waitlist for a kidney transplant. But the waitlist? Three years. The O+ blood type? The highest in demand. Two family matches? Unsuccessful. And then... Jeanne Radcliff stepped forward.

Each year, Jeanne hosts an annual Thanksgiving dinner, inviting over 120 people. She is a wife, a mother to three, a grandma to four, and her blood type is O+.

Jeanne and her husband, Dug, signed on as Beck’s dealers in 2005 and, to this day, consider it to be the best decision ever made. Farming corn and soybeans, Circleville, OH, has always been home for their family.

Ronnie and Jeanne crossed paths for the first time many decades ago when Dug was a manager at the local fertilizer plant. The two families were friends for decades, both serving the community in many ways. “She’s just a likable gal. It doesn’t come any better than Jeanne,” Ronnie expresses. “When we hit the point when we knew a transplant was needed, there were so many stars that had to align,” says Natalie, Ronnie’s oldest daughter. Ronnie had to change his entire diet, maintain the proper weight, and find a donor with the right blood type.



When Jeanne heard the news that Ronnie needed a kidney transplant, there was no hesitation before she turned in her application. “I never worried about myself,” Jeanne explains. “If I can help somebody, I’m going to do it.” And Jeanne did just that.

Jeanne wasn’t the only one to step up when Ronnie was in need. Two of Ronnie’s family members went through the rigorous process to become donors but were deemed unsuccessful matches. But the third time was the charm, and Jeanne’s results came back as a perfect match. The surgery was a success, and since the surgery, both Ronnie and Jeanne have been in excellent health nearly two years later.

Jeanne’s mission for helping others doesn’t stop at Ronnie. She’s a cook and a friend to the elderly. She’s a surrogate parent to the youth in the community. And she actively raises money for an annual Farm to Plate event, a community tradition. Her fulltime job is helping others.

Jeanne does admit that donating her kidney was a tough decision and not something she took lightly. In her words, the process can be scary, daunting, and overwhelming, but it was all worth it in the end. Jeanne offers two forms of encouragement to anyone considering being an organ donor. First, she encourages potential donors to have full support from their family and friends. Second, she encourages anyone considering donating to do all the research necessary to ensure a successful result.

Ronnie will never forget Jeanne’s generosity and her gift of life, and as a small token of his appreciation, he named one of his zebra’s “Zeanne” in her honor.

When the stars aligned for Ronnie and Jeanne, a bond was formed, a friendship blossomed, and a life was saved.


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Author: Hannah McGee

Categories: CropTalk, 2021


Hannah McGee

Hannah McGee

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