Boerbooms awarded for using class project to expand hog operation

Photo by Jody Isaackson Mike and Matt Boerboom of rural Marshall were recently recognized for their contribution to the family farm by the University of Minnesota. Based on Matt Boerboom's senior financial model, Boerboom Ag Resources constructed a feed mill and diversified their hog operation the year after Matt graduated from the university.

MARSHALL – A senior class project at the University of Minnesota that earned Matt Boerboom an “A” in 2011 also led to a major expansion of his family’s hog production business.

The focus of their family farm is raising pigs from birth to market. And in 2012, a feed milling operation including corn storage bins, truck scales and corn drying capacity was added to the farm. Most recently, they have added an open-pen gestation sow farm for further diversification.

On Oct. 5, Matt and his brother, Mike, were recognized by the University of Minnesota for their contributions to agriculture in a reception held on the St. Paul campus.

The award was one of three for various levels of academia–undergraduate, graduate and doctorate, Mike Boerboom said. Matt Boerboom’s project was a financial model to expand their family business, Boerboom Ag Resources of rural Marshall. Their family approved of putting the model into action.

“I think I got an A-minus on the project,” Matt Boerboom said. “And, I went with Dad (Greg Boerboom) to see the bankers about the expansion.”

A year after he graduated, the feed mill was under construction.

The Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Science (CFANS) gave the Boerbooms each a plaque during the reception which the Boerbooms’ immediate family were also present to witness the award.

“We recognized the Boerboom brothers for their entrepreneurial and forward-looking approach to farming in the modern era,” said Professor Frances Homans, head of the Department of Applied Economics. “Together, these brothers exemplify the qualities the University is proud to see in its graduates: a passion for their community, a spirit of hard work and innovation and a lasting commitment to Minnesota agriculture.”

Matt Boerboom, a 2011 University graduate, and Mike Boerboom, a 2007 University graduate, earned their undergraduate degrees in agricultural and food business Management and returned to their third-generation family farm east of Marshall after graduation.

“I oversee the hog production,” Mike Boerboom said. “And, Matt oversees the feed mill and crops. Both Matt and I like working with numbers.”

Boerboom Ag Resources focuses on raising “quality and nutritious pork.” The company is owned by Greg and Paula Boerboom and their children Laurie, Mike and Matt Boerboom. They employ about 40 people to work with the large number of pigs, crops and feed mill. The company also works with about 35 area farmers to contract grow pigs.

“People are our most important resource,” Mike Boerboom said.

What sold him on going into the hog business is “the opportunity to work with family and be close to home,” he said. “The ability to work independently, to be your own manager, was appealing.”

Mike Boerboom and his wife, Megan Boerboom, have two children. Their son, Brayden is 7 years old and their daughter Finley is 5. Mike Boerboom is a 2004 Marshall High School graduate.

Matt and his wife, Emily, have an 18-month-old son named John. Matt Boerboom is a 2007 Marshall High School graduate.

Both families live near the office and feed mill.

“The wives are supportive of what we do,” Mike Boerboom said.

The Boerboom brothers chose the University of Minnesota because of the agriculture department. The University of Minnesota Agriculture Department chose the brothers because they were in agriculture production, which is different than most of the awardees who chose the academic route, Mike Boerboom said.

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