Loma Vista Nursery News

Meet Thomas, our plant health manager!

Loma Vista Nursery Employee Features

We at Loma Vista Nursery are not only proud of our plants, but we are also proud of our operations and the people who work here, which is why we are featuring blogs and videos about the people who make up our incredible team and how we run our nursery.

Introducing: Thomas Minter

Thomas is our Plant Health Manager, so he is pretty much known as the plant doctor here at Loma Vista Nursery. There is a lot at stake with Thomas’s role because our plants have to be healthy in order to send them to our customers. He fertilizes our plants and is responsible for disease and pest prevention and management. His team scouts out our crops to watch out for the first signs of any issues, and as soon as they find even the smallest semblance of a problem, they tackle the issue right away.

above: Our production team from left to right, Thomas Minter, Michael Sellers, Duane Huss, and Brooke Stamm

Another responsibility of the Plant Health Manager is that of watering and irrigation.  As we all know, plants need water to grow and thrive. However, too much water is a recipe for decay and diseases, and not enough water is a recipe for wilt and diseases. He has to know the watering specifications for every plant variety on our 350 acre container facility. On top of that, he has to test our water source, the water from our on-site lake, to make sure that the PH is balanced and that there are no dangerous pathogens.

His ‘Roots’ 

Thomas grew up on the Missouri side of the Kansas City metropolitan area. He went to Lee’s Summit North High School and then attended University of Central Missouri where he earned a degree in horticulture. During his time in undergrad, he was lucky to intern at Northern Family Farms up in Wisconsin. “My internship there solidified that this industry is where I wanted to be,” Thomas says.

above: Thomas working on equipment in our shop.

Thomas, like all of the plants he works with, needs to be outside even when he is not working. When the weather is good (and even sometimes when it isn’t), Thomas can be found camping and canoeing. If you ever need someone to play disc golf with, Thomas is your go-to guy. He’s been playing for years, and he knows of all of the best courses in the Kansas and Missouri areas. His passion for plants doesn’t just stop at work; Thomas is also one of the founding members of the Kansas City Emerging Leaders in Horticulture group. He wants to help recruit more young people to this industry, so with the Emerging Leaders Group, he coordinates events where people can have opportunities to learn more about horticulture.

From Interviewer to Interviewee

Thomas has been with Loma Vista Nursery going on four years, but before he was a full-time employee, Thomas interviewed us. “Lyndsi always says it’s the first time she has been interviewed herself and given the interviewer a job,” Thomas always says when he tells this story.  While he was at University of Central Missouri, he interviewed Loma Vista Nursery’s Vice President, Lyndsi Oestmann, over the nursery’s quality and innovation. Lyndsi was impressed with Thomas, so she kept in touch with him and offered him a job right out of college. Thomas spent his first three months here training in all of the nursery’s departments. He then transitioned into irrigation before becoming the plant health manager.

SANC and the Importance of Plant Health

Loma Vista Nursery was recently one of the first nurseries to receive the Systems Approach to Nurseries Certification (SANC). SANC is a voluntary program created by the National Plant Health Board in order to create better nursery practices that will reduce disease and pest risks for nursery plants. The process to get certified and the practices we have put in place all have positively impacted Thomas’s role here on the nursery.  Thomas says, “Because of SANC, we are building good programs for plant health. SANC has helped show us what is a problem before it is a problem and has helped get more people involved in the process.” All of our staff now are trained in the basics of plant health and disease prevention, and we all actively follow the SANC guidelines that are posted around the nursery. Read more about what SANC means for our nursery in our press release in Nursery Management HERE.

above: Thomas training Eli Quinones on how to sanitize our production houses before moving plants inside.

SANC also ties into what Thomas loves most about working at Loma Vista Nursery: all of the innovations and evolving processes. “I appreciate that each day I have to learn about something new,” Thomas says, “whether it be a new plant disease or pest that has emerged in the country or a new practice to implement on the nursery.” Thomas loves that Loma Vista Nursery is always proactive with its practices. We often reach out to other professionals in the industry for advice because we don’t want to be stagnant in our ways. Our nursery is committed to growing the healthiest plants for customers and creating a legacy for current and future generations, and we wouldn’t be able to do any of that without our top-notch plant health manager.

Come Work With Us (And Thomas!)

Interested in joining our team at Loma Vista Nursery? Check out our career page HERE or contact us  for general inquiries. Email: sales@lomavistanursery.com Phone: (785) 229-7200 

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