Mike and Patti Boyert Growing Tomorrow Grant

Much like in their nursery in northeast Ohio, Mike and Patti Boyert hope the seeds they are planting with the help of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation are perennials that stand the test of time.

The foundation’s new Growing Tomorrow Grant was created to help inspire, encourage and nurture young agricultural professionals and entrepreneurs to find creative and transformative ways to address challenges facing the agricultural sector today, and to generate wider and deeper public understanding of farming and the ways that agriculture impacts our nation and our communities.

This grant-making program is the brainchild of the Boyerts. Mike is Ohio Farm Bureau northeast regional trustee and currently serves on the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation board. Patti and Mike remember well the struggles they encountered when they started their farming careers, and the difficulties they faced in starting, growing and sustaining their farming business in Medina County.

“We struggled just to get started. We had the idea, we had the business plan and we knew what we wanted to do, but we didn’t have the capital to do it. We had to piece it together,” Patti said. Now years later, they have a thriving business and are ready to help the next generation.

“We want to pay it forward, get young people started in agriculture that may not be able to with just a little bit of a start. If they have the commitment, the dedication and are willing to work for it, I’d like to see more young people stay in agriculture and be able to produce a living from agriculture,” she said.

The Growing Tomorrow Grant is the Boyerts’ way of ensuring that creative young farmers can access opportunities they did not have, and enabling these young professionals to use their skills to alleviate the difficulties facing agriculture today. Those challenges include a lack of public education regarding the importance of farms within the U.S. food system and the significant economic hardships facing rural communities and farm workers.

“The grant really helps sustain Ohio rural communities,” Mike said. “It gives you an opportunity to promote different educational opportunities (and) a more public understanding of what agriculture is all about. It teaches new and different methodologies centered around our environmental stewardship, and it creates an opportunity for employment in Ohio
farm communities.”

By funding creative and transformative agricultural solutions, the Growing Tomorrow Grant aims to help young farmers, strengthen public understanding of agriculture, and
ensure the sustainability and vitality of agricultural communities.

“The Growing Tomorrow Grant, the ‘tomorrow’ is not just tomorrow. It’s for generations to come, and we’re hoping if we get this generation and we give a couple people a jump-start that when they’re in a position, down the road that they’re going to pay it forward, and keep this grant going and benefit young farmers for years and years to come,” Patti said.

Growing Tomorrow Grant program

The Growing Tomorrow Grant will provide grants to new or early-stage agricultural businesses. Grants will focus on supporting, among other activities:

  • The creation of long-term sustainable employment opportunities within Ohio farming communities.
  • Educational opportunities to enable better public understanding of agriculture, help farmers learn from each other, and teach new and different agricultural methodologies.
  • Businesses that use or demonstrate the viability of agricultural techniques that center on environmental stewardship.
  • Farmers actively working to support and sustain the communities in which they live.

Deadline for applications is 5 p.m. July 31.

Online Extra

Sidebar: Growing customers

Ensuring the continued success of a small business takes perseverance, a great product, a good business plan and above all, customers.

Mike and Patti Boyert’s daughter-in-law Mallory Boyert has been in charge of social media for their nursery since 2018. She is married to their son Matt, who is the perennial manager, and the couple has three children. With a degree in fashion merchandising and marketing, a keen eye for design and armed with a cell phone full of photographs, Mallory has helped launch Boyert’s Greenhouse & Farm to the next level, with a little bit of something for all demographics of their customer base.

Mallory Boyert
Mallory Boyert

“I knew a little about house plants and gardening when I started, but they let me just take the reins,” she said of the nursery’s social media metamorphosis. “I was able to teach our customers from behind the scenes. I was in my ‘growing’ period, too.”

That direct connection to the greenhouse’s local customers through social media has grown exponentially over the years, Mallory said. They do not ship products. Their customers are in and around Medina. Boyert’s Facebook page now has more than 24,000 followers, Instagram is at almost 10,000 and reaching a young audience interested in fun, short clips and how-to videos reaches over 300 via TikTok.

“Our engagement has been through the roof,” Mallory said. Along with running the business’ social media posts, she also has her own offshoot Instagram page called @MalThePlantGal. The nursery has also added quarterly vendor days called “Greenhouse Gatherings” and winter farmers markets in their warm, albeit empty greenhouses in cold weather months.

“Our analytics double on those days,” she said. “At our greenhouse gatherings thousands of people come in and shop that day or see what we have come back. Our farmers markets in the winter are mutually beneficial opportunities for farmers and for us. I love those events where we can hang out with vendors and customers who have become friends.”

Visit Boyert’s Greenhouse & Farm on all their social media platforms or at boyerts.com.

Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
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Mandy Way

Way Farms

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Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

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Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

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Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

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Coshocton County Farm Bureau

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Groovy Plants Ranch

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