Christopherson stressed that gentleman was at the top and these young men should never forget the order.

More than 20 years later, Boll says he thinks of the order in his life and doesn’t want his roles to get out of balance.

“That was something I loved about Concordia,” Boll says with a smile. “It didn’t get the priorities out of whack. Faith was always a priority. Education was a priority. Family was a priority and I liked that.”

Now, Boll balances being a husband, father, farmer and entrepreneur. He and his wife, Melissa (Staples) ’97, along with their six children, live on the family farm near Crookston, Minn. Boll graduated from Concordia with an elementary education major. After graduation, he was a computer consultant and teacher planning to work in education until his dad was ready to retire from farming.

“In the late ’90s, times were tough on the farm,” Boll says. “My dad came to me and said he was going to sell the farm. So, at the age of 23, it was basically a change of plan and I took over the farm.”

Boll started farming 800 acres while keeping his job off the farm. But as his dreams and vision for his business grew, he quit his outside job and diversified the farm. The farm’s standard mix of wheat and sugar beets broadened to corn, edible beans, soybeans and raising cow/calf pairs through a sustainable method called rotational grazing.

He also opened a trucking company to make better use of the equipment he was only using during harvest. It was also a way to employ help year round and have people available for fall. “It grew from one truck I drove myself to six trucks and five full-time guys that are really versatile,” Boll says. “It’s just helped diversify the operation and make it more financially feasible.”

Throughout the changes and upgrades he’s made to his farm, including growing his business to 6,000 acres, Boll has used good conservation practices to protect the fields from erosion and nutrient depletion. Boll’s entrepreneurial spirit and sustainable methods earned him the honor of the Young Farmer Sustainability Award from Bayer CropScience last year. With all the changes in the past 20 years, Boll hasn’t left his former profession behind completely. He’s carried his technology skills into farming.

“Technology, whether it’s auto-steer or variable rate application of nutrients, has really changed how we do things on the farm in exciting and beneficial ways,” Boll says. “I enjoy being at home and I can communicate with my grain dryer or see where my trucks and tractors are in the field.”

Boll now thinks about agribusiness on a whole different level. He says his education at Concordia shaped that way of thinking and expanded his reach.

That’s the thing about a liberal arts education – it’s broad based. Everything ties together. – Bryan Boll

“It really opened my mind that there is more out there," Boll says. "It’s a big world and the things we do here shape and define things way beyond what we see or know.”

While he speaks passionately about the potential opportunities in farming, when you ask him what he loves about the farm he gets quiet and reflective. There are so many things. The smell of the soil and the rains after a long dry spell. The chance to see his kids run freely and learn about hard work and difficult realities – like having a calf die or a crop fail. The spiritual aspect – the faith to keep going when you know nature can change your plan in a moment. That in the end we have to remember who is in control and never forget the order.

“We’re borrowing the land from God,” Boll says. “I’m excited about the direction we are headed with agriculture. I believe I’m involved with a noble profession. We feed the world.”

Originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Concordia Magazine.

Published November 2015