United Church of God

Paul Syltie





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Paul Syltie was raised on a crop and dairy farm in southwestern Minnesota, where he spent his formative years helping on the beautiful family farm within a closely knit rural community. Desiring to remain on the farm, he first obtained a Bachelor's Degree in soils from the University of Minnesota, and following his marriage to his high school sweetheart Sandy he continued on for a Master's Degree in soil fertility at the University of Illinois. That effort was rudely interrupted by being drafted into the U.S. Army during the Viet Nam War. Fortunately, his two years were spent in Germany in a military band. It was at this time that both he and his wife were called into God's Church, where they began attending services in Frankfurt, and he narrowly avoided being court marshaled for insisting on keeping the Sabbath. In Germany their first child was born. They were both baptized upon his return to Illinois to complete the Master's Degree, in early 1971, and then they returned to the home community in Minnesota for what they thought would be a lifetime of carrying on the family traditions.

As Christ predicted, He came not to bring peace but a sword, and after a year of struggling to survive within a depressed farm economy, with parents who despised the new-found faith of their children, they were forced to leave their beloved community but were welcomed at Ambassador College, Big Sandy, Texas, where Paul enrolled as a married student, faculty member, and manager of the vegetable and fruit operations. That welcome lasted two years, at which time Paul accepted a farmer managerial position in southeastern Wisconsin. Three years later he enrolled at North Dakota Sate University in Fargo and completed the degree of Doctor of Soil Fertility, with a specialty in crop and animal nutrition and biochemistry.

Paul returned to Texas in 1980 to work with Dale Schurter as scientist to support international marketing of a soils and crops program, and continued in that capacity until 1995, when he joined Vital Earth Resources in Gladewater, Texas. The cropping program initiated there has expanded to many countries across the world, and is currently improving crop yields and quality significantly.

During the course of these many years the Sylties have added five more children to their household, and in 2012 moved to Sinai, South Dakota, where Paul continues to work with Vital Earth as research director. He and his wife of 47 years now have 10 grandchildren, and are enjoying the fellowship of brethren on the northern Plains. He has authored several books and many articles on scientific and spiritual topics.