Deerfield family's $100,000 gift establishes the Wallbrown agriculture scholarship fund

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Joan Wallbrown of Deerfield and her children have established the Boyd Wallbrown Jr. Agriculture-Innovation Scholarship Fund with a gift of $100,000 to The Portage Foundation.

In 1959, at the age of 29, Boyd Wallbrown Jr and his wife, Joan, purchased a 93-acre farm in Deerfield. The couple began by raising hogs and corn. Boyd was willing to take risks and use cutting-edge agricultural methods and technologies.

Wallbrown embraced progressive concepts such as no-till planting, liquid fertilizers and steel bins for grain storage. In the 1960s, he founded Deerfield Farms Service Inc.

The fledgling business sold Circle Brand grain bins and liquid fertilizers and offered a custom application service for its fertilizer products.

Boyd died in 1991, but he has left a legacy to his family, Portage County and the agricultural community of Ohio. The original 93-acre farm now encompasses 3,500 acres and Deerfield Farms Service has more than 70 employees in five locations.

To honor his memory, Joan and their four children have established the Boyd Wallbrown Jr. Agriculture-Innovation Scholarship that will be awarded annually to a person choosing to pursue college-level studies that will lead to a career in agricultural production, crop production or livestock/farm animals.

The Boyd Wallbrown Jr. Agriculture-Innovation Scholarship Fund has been established, within The Portage Foundation, with an initial gift of $100,000.

Recipients will be chosen with the  expectation that they too can contribute and lead in an innovative way in the agricultural profession.

 Deborah Drago, board president and Ralph Kletzien, executive director of The Portage Foundation expressed profound appreciation to Joan and Boyd's children (Bill, John, Beth and Jackie).

"To create such a legacy carries forward the ideals and priorities of their family that will benefit generations going forward and is an excellent example of how a community foundation can assist persons who are passionate about important issues by creating permanent legacies," Kletzien said.

This month, The Portage Foundation will be forwarding scholarship application information to area high school and vocational schools that offer applicable curriculums for students interested in the agricultural field.

For more information, contact The Portage Foundation, 138 East Main St., Kent or call 330-474-0480.

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