Grow Forward Grant Spotlight: Jeramie Ziola
The Ziola family picture.

Pictured: Jeramie Ziola, his wife Leslie, and their two children Ricky (right) and Izzy (left).  


For Jeramie Ziola, farming runs in the family. Jeramie grew up in Saginaw county where he raises corn, soy, wheat, sunflowers, hay, and beef cattle with his dad, Gene. While he tried to pursue other careers for several years, Jeramie has always loved farming and his career path always led back to the land. Aside from a few years spent on a harvest crew, Jeramie spent most of his life on his family farm. In addition to the farm, Jeramie and his family do custom field tile installations and his mom owns a feed supply store where they sell many of the products they grow. 


While Jeramie already has an extensive knowledge base from growing up in the industry, he wanted to improve his understanding of financial management and soil health. Jeramie learned about the Grow Forward Grant program through GreenStone’s Partners magazine and applied for the grant to grow his knowledge and expertise in these areas. After receiving the grant, Jeramie completed three online classes through Cornell University, one class about holistic financial management and two classes about soil health. 


“The soil science classes were very helpful in fine-tuning my knowledge in that subject,” Jeramie emphasized. “The business management class really opened my eyes to a new way of looking at my business structure as a whole connected enterprise instead of individual enterprises.” 


Since 2018, GreenStone has awarded up to $40,000 annually in grant money to assist young, beginning, and small farmers expand their knowledge and grow their businesses through educational events and professional resources. The $1,000 grant Jeramie received allowed him to further educate himself about soil science and continue to improve his crop output and growth.  

“I would definitely recommend the grant program to anyone who wants to make a change or grow within their business but doesn’t feel they can give up money to do so, especially to young farmers. Starting out, money is always tight, but you are always wanting to learn and grow,” says Jeramie.  


GreenStone highly values the benefits this grant gives young farmers as they seek to grow their business and further their industry knowledge. 


Jeramie encourage any young, beginning, or small farmer to apply for the grant, saying, “There are so many great ways that you can use the grant. Don’t hesitate, just go for it. Perhaps your loan officer at GreenStone could even help you with ideas of how to use the grant.”  


GreenStone looks forward to supporting many more young, beginning, and small farmers like Jeramie who are looking to expand their knowledge and strengthen their business. Visit GreenStone's website to learn more about the specialized loan programs, grants, mentorships and resources designed specifically to support young, beginning and small farmers. 




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