Texas Agriculture November 18, 2016 : Page 15

OUTSTANDING YOUNG FARMER & RANCHER FINALISTS Layne and Jamie Chapman Vernon Marcus and Amy Halfmann Garden City Matt and Jessica Hanslik Hallettsville Outstanding young farmers, ranchers honored By Julie Tomascik Associate Editor Fueled by passion, young farmers and ranchers are cultivating a bright future for Texas agriculture. This year’s Outstanding Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R) contest finalists recognized by Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) share that drive and dedication. They plant seeds of faith. Nurture their fields and pastures. Care for their families. And serve both TFB and their communities with pride. Each year, TFB’s YF&R competi-tion recognizes the accomplishments of some of the state’s top agricultural leaders between the ages of 18 and 35 and rewards them for their hard work, dedication and determination. The 2016 Outstanding YF&R final-ists are: Layne and Jamie Chapman of Vernon; Marcus and Amy Halfmann of Garden City; and Matt and Jessica Hanslik of Hallettsville. The finalists were chosen from win-ners from all 13 TFB state districts. The winner of this competition will be named at the TFB Annual Meeting Dec. 3-5 in San Antonio. The Chapmans grow irrigated and dryland cotton, corn and wheat in a continuous cropping system. They also run stockers on their wheat pas-ture. Jamie owns Pepperberries, a gift shop in downtown Vernon. Layne serves as vice president of the Wilbarger County Farm Bureau board. The couple previously served as chairs of the TFB Young Farmer & Rancher Advisory Committee chair-man. They are active in numerous county Farm Bureau activities, in-cluding Texas Food Connection Day and Ag in the Classroom. The couple has one son, Jaxon. Marcus and Amy Halfmann grow cotton, hay and wheat in the Midland area. They also raise cattle. Marcus also has a custom farming business, and Amy is a dietitian. Marcus is the vice president of the Midland County Farm Bureau and has served as a state commodity conference delegate, and the couple participates in numerous YF&R ac-tivities. They also assist with Food Connection Day activities and serve on the Texas Agricultural Challenges Team. The Halfmanns have a son, Byler, and daughter, Blakley. Matt and Jessica Hanslik have a cow-calf operation and sell purebred Charolais bulls. They are part owners of an all-natural fertilizer company, grow corn and hay and raise cattle through a partnership with Matt’s dad and brother. The fertilizer com-pany recycles dry poultry litter from poultry layer facilities and provides custom application for farms and ranches. Jessica is also a regional sales man-ager for a local egg producer. Matt serves on the Lavaca County Farm Bureau board of directors and the couple participates in county and state YF&R activities, Texas Food Connection Day events and Ag in the Classroom activities. They have one daughter, Blakely. The winner of this year’s Outstand-ing YF&R contest will take home: the title to a 2017 Chevrolet 4x4 pickup with a diesel engine, courtesy of Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Companies; use of a Case IH Farmall series trac-tor for one year, courtesy of Case IH; a $5,000 cash award, courtesy of Farm Credit; and a $750 service voucher, courtesy of Chevrolet Certified Ser-vice. The two runners-up will receive: a $500 cash award, courtesy of South-ern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company; a new pair of Justin Boots, courtesy of Justin Brands, Inc.; and a power tool, courtesy of Grainger. All three finalists will receive an expense-paid trip to the TFB Annual Meeting. The state winner also will repre-sent Texas in the Achievement Award competition at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. in January. The winner of the AFBF Achieve-ment Award will receive their choice of a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra truck, courtesy of Chevrolet, and all expenses paid trip to the AFBF Fusion Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. The three national finalists will receive a Case IH Farmall 50A trac-tor, courtesy of Case IH; a $2,500 cash award and $500 in STIHL merchan-dise, courtesy of STIHL. In addition to the Outstanding YF&R contest, TFB also hosts the Excellence in Agriculture (EIA) com-petition to recognize the young men and women who are involved in agri-culture, but do not earn their primary income directly from their own farm or ranch operations. The winner of the 2016 EIA contest will also be named at the TFB Annual Meeting in San Antonio. This year’s finalists are: Scott and Sara Holloway of Bowie, Justin and Kacy Mitchell of Tyler and Ryan and Jessica Railsback of Cisco. Information on both the YF&R and EIA contests can be found online at www.texasfarmbureau.org. N OVEMBER 18 , 2016 15

Outstanding Young Farmers, Ranchers Honored

By Julie Tomascik
Associate Editor

Fueled by passion, young farmers and ranchers are cultivating a bright future for Texas agriculture.

This year’s Outstanding Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R) contest finalists recognized by Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) share that drive and dedication.

They plant seeds of faith. Nurture their fields and pastures. Care for their families. And serve both TFB and their communities with pride.

Each year, TFB’s YF&R competition recognizes the accomplishments of some of the state’s top agricultural leaders between the ages of 18 and 35 and rewards them for their hard work, dedication and determination.

The 2016 Outstanding YF&R finalists are: Layne and Jamie Chapman of Vernon; Marcus and Amy Halfmann of Garden City; and Matt and Jessica Hanslik of Hallettsville.

The finalists were chosen from winners from all 13 TFB state districts.

The winner of this competition will be named at the TFB Annual Meeting Dec. 3-5 in San Antonio.

The Chapmans grow irrigated and dryland cotton, corn and wheat in a continuous cropping system. They also run stockers on their wheat pasture. Jamie owns Pepperberries, a gift shop in downtown Vernon.

Layne serves as vice president of the Wilbarger County Farm Bureau board. The couple previously served as chairs of the TFB Young Farmer & Rancher Advisory Committee chairman. They are active in numerous county Farm Bureau activities, including Texas Food Connection Day and Ag in the Classroom.

The couple has one son, Jaxon.

Marcus and Amy Halfmann grow cotton, hay and wheat in the Midland area. They also raise cattle.

Marcus also has a custom farming business, and Amy is a dietitian.

Marcus is the vice president of the Midland County Farm Bureau and has served as a state commodity conference delegate, and the couple participates in numerous YF&R activities. They also assist with Food Connection Day activities and serve on the Texas Agricultural Challenges Team.

The Halfmanns have a son, Byler, and daughter, Blakley.

Matt and Jessica Hanslik have a cow-calf operation and sell purebred Charolais bulls. They are part owners of an all-natural fertilizer company, grow corn and hay and raise cattle through a partnership with Matt’s dad and brother. The fertilizer company recycles dry poultry litter from poultry layer facilities and provides custom application for farms and ranches.

Jessica is also a regional sales manager for a local egg producer.

Matt serves on the Lavaca County Farm Bureau board of directors and the couple participates in county and state YF&R activities, Texas Food Connection Day events and Ag in the Classroom activities.

They have one daughter, Blakely.

The winner of this year’s Outstanding YF&R contest will take home: the title to a 2017 Chevrolet 4x4 pickup with a diesel engine, courtesy of Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Companies; use of a Case IH Farmall series tractor for one year, courtesy of Case IH; a $5,000 cash award, courtesy of Farm Credit; and a $750 service voucher, courtesy of Chevrolet Certified Service.

The two runners-up will receive: a $500 cash award, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company; a new pair of Justin Boots, courtesy of Justin Brands, Inc.; and a power tool, courtesy of Grainger.

All three finalists will receive an expense-paid trip to the TFB Annual Meeting.

The state winner also will represent Texas in the Achievement Award competition at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. in January.

The winner of the AFBF Achievement Award will receive their choice of a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra truck, courtesy of Chevrolet, and all expenses paid trip to the AFBF Fusion Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The three national finalists will receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor, courtesy of Case IH; a $2,500 cash award and $500 in STIHL merchandise, courtesy of STIHL.

In addition to the Outstanding YF&R contest, TFB also hosts the Excellence in Agriculture (EIA) competition to recognize the young men and women who are involved in agriculture, but do not earn their primary income directly from their own farm or ranch operations.

The winner of the 2016 EIA contest will also be named at the TFB Annual Meeting in San Antonio.

This year’s finalists are: Scott and Sara Holloway of Bowie, Justin and Kacy Mitchell of Tyler and Ryan and Jessica Railsback of Cisco.

Information on both the YF&R and EIA contests can be found online at www.texasfarmbureau.org.

Layne and Jamie Chapman
Grow: Cotton, corn and wheat. Raise cattle.
Location: Vernon
Children: Jaxon

By Ed Wolff
Video Services Director

As a boy, all Layne Chapman wanted to do was grow cotton. That childhood dream is now a reality. He and his wife Jamie farm just south of the Red River near Vernon.

But cotton isn’t their only crop. They also grow corn and wheat and raise cattle. The seeds of this fifth generation farmer were planted long ago.

“I remember following my dad through some cotton stalks. The next few years, I remember my granddad always harvesting his cotton,” Layne said. “And I remember being such a big part of his life and how much he loved life. And that made me say this is what I have to do.”

After Layne returned from college in 2009, he started farming full time. His first year was a complete success. Everything went right. He had plenty of rain. A good cotton crop. And a good wheat crop.

Then 2011 came. And it all changed.

“I’ll never forget the day that it was 118 degrees. The wind was blowing in my face, and my cotton was getting blown out. And I had worked so hard to that point,” Layne said. “And I said, ‘You know there has to be a better way. There has to be something that I can do different because this is not working.’”

Weather extremes made him rethink the way he farmed.

He started conserving irrigation water, eventually installing drip systems on many of his farms. He stopped plowing as much and began using minimum tillage and eventually no-till techniques.

He’s started growing cover crops, as well as corn—a crop that’s scarce in his part of the state—to help conserve moisture and reduce soil erosion.

Variable rate technology. Moisture probes. He’s even ventured into cattle. In just five years, his farm has completely transformed.

“Over the last few years, the volatility of the grain market has made wheat production in this area unprofitable. So I developed a relationship with a cattleman. He keeps ownership of the cattle, and I take care of them,” Layne said. “It’s basically on a gain-type basis. But what that has allowed me to do is develop another market for these wheat fields that are going to have a lower yield with a lower price.”

Shortly after returning to the farm, he met his future wife. Jamie grew up just 30 miles away.

After working for a co-op in Oklahoma for several years, a dream of hers came true. The chance to own her own retail gift shop. A leap of faith later, Pepperberries was hers.

“I have some of Layne’s cotton in the store as decoration. I have a cotton wreath in the window, and I don’t know how many of those cotton wreaths I’ve made,” Jamie said. “Just because everyone is like, ‘Oh my gosh, where’d you get that cotton wreath.’ And I say, ‘Actually, it came from my husband’s farm.’ And that just blows their mind.”

Sometimes she gives a brief cotton picking lesson to the customers.

“It’s kind of neat for them to be able to say that that cotton was actually grown here and that they can put a face with the farmer,” she said.

A year and a half ago, Jaxon joined the farming family. At his toddler age, he is soaking in all there is to see, touch and do on the farm. And a passion for agriculture is already taking root.

“The second word he learned wasn’t dada. It was tractor-tractor. Every time Jaxon gets any chance to be near a tractor, he wants to be on it,” Layne said.

Layne is currently vice president of the Wilbarger County Farm Bureau. He and Jamie have served on the Texas Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher committee and chaired it in 2015. They are also involved in their local community in many ways, including the local farmers’ co-op and their church.

For Layne, the future is always in view. New practices. New ideas. New technology. To make sure the farm is here for many more generations. But one thing is always constant—his family is his greatest asset.

“When you have a family that’s behind you, it makes work what’s already great that much better,” Layne said.

Marcus and Amy Halfmann
Grow: Cotton, hay and wheat. Raise cattle.
Location: Garden City
Children: Byler and Blakley

By Ed Wolff
Video Services Director

South of Midland sits one of the largest oil fields in the nation. That’s where Marcus and Amy Halfmann farm. But they’re not producing petroleum. They’re growing cotton, along with wheat, hay and cattle.

Though the challenges of farming in West Texas can be daunting, at the end of the day they both agree it’s worth it.

“We love it! We love farming. We love cotton farming. We love West Texas. We love having our kids out here on the farm every day,” Marcus said. “We love teaching them the same work ethic and morals we have. And there’s no better place to do that than right here on the farm.”

Marcus and Amy both grew up on family farms just 90 miles apart. After meeting in college, they decided to plant roots in Garden City, Marcus’ hometown.

For both, the years spent growing up between the cotton stalks sparked a passion for agriculture. One they want to pass on to their children.

“That’s why we believe in sustainable agriculture. We want our families to live here for a long, long time,” Marcus said. “Sustainable agriculture to me is a practice that I can pass down to my kids and my grandkids. I want to leave them with good enough soil health and a viable practice that they can use for years to come.”

Compost is one way he ensures the farm’s future. He keeps the gin trash from his cotton, turns it into compost and spreads it on his fields to enrich the soils.

For Marcus, sustainable doesn’t naturally equal organic or non-GMO. It’s farming in ways that improve the land and conserve natural resources—practices that make sure this land will continue to grow crops for generations.

“We believe in precision agriculture. We run every crop that we farm on GPS. We installed drip irrigation systems that are extremely precise and efficient. We’ve also started using a drone to scout for root rot in our fields and drip leaks,” Marcus said. “It’s a lot easier to spot drip leaks with the drone versus manually walking through the fields.”

Rabbits have also become a nuisance. A population explosion in recent years equals damaged crops. He has lost more than 800 acres this year alone, and he’s organizing a hunting competition to help manage the problem.

Through thick and thin, Amy is by his side. She is a registered dietitian and consults with individuals, as well as local nursing homes and a head start program. She’s also a full-time mom, personal trainer and the farm’s bookkeeper.

Her perspective as both a farm mom and nutrition professional is enlightening to those she meets.

“With my nutrition background, it’s nice to see the research and be able to provide people with good information from a reliable source that is researched-based whenever I do have a client that comes to me and asks me about farming questions,” Amy said. “You know ‘How is it farmed?’ ‘What about GMOs?’ I can tell them that it’s okay for you. It is healthy.”

The couple always has an eye to the future.

Their Black Angus cow-calf herd will hopefully help their children attend college, providing Byler and Blakley a path to fulfill their dreams. Hopefully ones that lead them back to the farm.

Every day, they are investing in the growth of the farm and their family in more ways than one.

“We’re fourth generation farmers out here in West Texas,” Marcus said. “My wife and I have two small kids and we’re expecting our third one in May.”

Marcus is vice president of the Midland County Farm Bureau. The couple is also active in their church, various agricultural organizations and their local community. Byler and Blakley can be found alongside their parents checking crops and feeding cows.

“They come out here and, even at 3 and 5, there’s still things that they can do. So we’ve tailored the responsibilities that they have to their ages and, as they grow and get older, we will continue to give them more responsibilities,” Amy said. “We’re also teaching them good morals, good ethics and we hope we can continue to prosper that.”

Matt and Jessica Hanslik
Grow: Corn and hay. Market all-natural fertilizer. Raise cattle.
Location: Hallettsville
Children: Blakely

By Gary Joiner
Editor

Matt and Jessica Hanslik thought it was a golden opportunity.

It was 2013, and the poultry industry was changing. New housing systems for laying hens meant new challenges for shell egg producers in managing their facilities.

The business opportunity for the Hansliks wasn’t a golden egg. Rather, it was the dry poultry litter left behind.

The decision to pursue the opportunity was a good one for the Hansliks. Along with managing their own cow-calf operation and partnering with family on cattle, corn and hay, Matt and Jessica are part owners of an all-natural fertilizer company that recycles poultry manure from a nearby shell egg laying facility. The fertilizer is custom applied on farms and ranches throughout the surrounding counties.

The business is growing. The company now handles nearly 18,000 tons of litter per year. The growth allowed Matt to return to the farm and ranch full-time two years ago.

“With today’s changing economy, I feel it’s very important to be as diversified as possible. When one market is down, another might be up. With the litter, we’re able to cut costs in places and be more efficient,” said Matt, a fifth generation farmer. “Today’s society is tapping into niche markets. And with the litter being an all-natural fertilizer, I think it’s going to be playing a key role into catering to those markets for organic and all natural.”

The couple knows the egg business well. Jessica is a regional sales representative for a local shell egg producer. As housing systems for the birds were upgraded, the company moved away from wet manure pits to dry manure belts. She said the benefits of the fertilizer have helped market the product.

“The way we expanded it was that the farmers and ranchers caught wind of it, literally, and saw the results. They really liked it, and they wanted to get some for their own property,” she said.

The Hansliks said poultry manure is an all-natural, cost-effective, long-term solution to improve soil health. Micronutrients and organic matter are plentiful in the product.

“Matt and I are really excited about the future. There’s going to be two more houses built here, which will be about 5,000 more tons of manure that we’ll get per year,” Jessica said. “We’re looking for ways to expand, be more innovative. We’re looking into a drying, pelletizing and bagging system that we can expand our business and tap into more niche markets.”

The Hansliks lease and own property as part of their own cow-calf operation. Two years ago, they started buying registered Charolais cattle. Raising the bull calves and selling them to individuals gives them an outlet when the cattle market is down. They also use the heifers as replacements for older cows in their herd. They hope to acquire more lease property in the future to increase herd size and revenue.

“I think it’s important to be as innovative and diverse as possible. I try to keep up with technology to be as efficient on our operation as possible,” Matt said.

That innovation and drive inspires them to be active in Texas Farm Bureau and other organizations.

Matt serves on the Lavaca County Farm Bureau board. Jessica also helps 4-H and FFA members with raising broilers for livestock shows and assists in coaching high school poultry judging teams. Together, the couple is active in county and state YF&R activities, Texas Food Connection Day events and Ag in the Classroom activities.

Matt and Jessica are passionate about the rural lifestyle and are excited about raising their daughter Blakely in a farm and ranch setting. They wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Having the opportunity to raise your kids on the farm is something that’s very rewarding. It allows them to be included and understand the process of how things are grown,” Matt said. “Growing up on a farm has really taught me the value of hard work. And it’s something that I want my kids to understand and appreciate when they get older.”

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Outstanding+Young+Farmers%2C+Ranchers+Honored/2641481/358629/article.html.

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here