(Posted March 10, 2017)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Anyone who visits Mike and Pam Boerger’s house for the first time is likely to receive the following greeting from Mike, accompanied by a wry grin: “Welcome to the edge of the earth.”
The Boergers live in Pike Township in the far northwest corner of Madison County where farmland and open skies stretch for miles. Mike says visitors think of it as the middle of nowhere. He insists he’s no more than 15 minutes in all directions from everything he needs.
No matter what their address reads, Mike and Pam have made a home for themselves in the heart of Madison County’s agriculture and civic scene. On March 16, the London Rotary Club will honor the couple with the 2017 Joe Yoder Agricultural Award.
Farming runs deep in Mike’s family. His great-great grandfather bought the “home farm” in Darby Township, near Plain City, in 1893. The farm has remained in the family ever since. Mike grew up there and on the farm his parents bought in 1959, three miles away in Union County. He helped with the family’s livestock and grain operation and participated in 4-H and FFA.
In 1973, Mike skipped his graduation ceremony at Morehead State University to start work at the Ohio Grain Co. Later, he started a custom application service, applying herbicides, insecticides, fertilizer and lime on farms in west-central Ohio.
Mike and Pam were married in 1981—Sept. 5, to be exact.
“We had to get it done before harvest,” Pam quipped.
Pam’s grandparents farmed, so she knew what she was getting into when she married Mike. Three years later, the couple went all in, purchasing the house at “the edge of nowhere” and starting a farm operation of their own.
They now tend 1,800 acres of corn and soybeans, half in Madison County and half in Champaign County. Their son, Nick, works full-time at the farm. Their daughter, Stephanie, works at Mount Carmel West and part-time at the farm. Their grandson, Ethan, 3, helps, too, often decked out in Thomas the Tank Engine boots.
While Mike oversees Boerger Farms LLC, Pam says her responsibility is “the background stuff”—answering phones, ordering supplies, handling insurance, and transporting meals, parts, and people to the fields.
“I get all the glory jobs,” she said with a laugh.
Pam likes life on the farm.
“It’s flexible. It’s outdoors. It’s indoors. It’s a little bit of everything. You never know what you’re going to get into, and you learn something new every day,” she said.
Pam’s responsibilities also include holding down the farm when civic duty calls her husband away.
For the past 23 years, Mike has served as a Pike Township trustee. He also is president of the Madison Health Foundation, Madison County Red Cross board, and Madison County Townships Association. He is on the Friend’s House board and previously served as president of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce. As a member of the London Rotary Club, he received the Paul Harris Fellow Award. He also was named the Chamber’s Bell Ringer in 2015.
“People in the past have served. It’s my time to pay back for what the predecessors did,” Mike said. “We’ve got to preserve and make a community where our kids and grandkids want to live in the future.”
Rural-Urban Day Breakfast
The Rotary Club of London will host their annual Rural-Urban Day Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. March 16 at the Madison County Senior Center, 280 W. High St., London, to recognize the partnership of agriculture and business in Madison County.
Following the buffet breakfast, Professor Scott Shearer, chair of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at The Ohio State University, will speak on “Removing Man from Agricultural Field Machinery.” Rotary then will honor Mike and Pam Boerger, winners of the 2017 Joe Yoder Agricultural Award.
The breakfast is free, by reservation, for agriculturalists. Tickets are available by contacting Rotarians Kelly Snyder at (740) 604-1608, Greg King at (740) 852-0049, or Kelso Wessel at (614) 483-3840.