Lavaca County couple wins TFB Outstanding Young Farmer & Rancher contest
(WACO, Texas)—An idea hatched from practicality has grown into a fully-developed business venture and created statewide recognition for Matt and Jessica Hanslik of Lavaca County.
The couple was named the winner of Texas Farm Bureau’s (TFB) 2020 Outstanding Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R) competition during the organization’s 87th Annual Meeting virtual opening session.
“Matt and Jessica took one idea and created a new business model,” TFB President Russell Boening said. “They have built a full-circle farming operation from the ground up, and we congratulate them on their hard work and ingenuity.”
On their farm and ranch in Lavaca County, the Hansliks grow corn and hay, raise cattle and are part owners of an all-natural fertilizer company, in which they take chicken litter and “upcycle” it for use as farm fertilizer.
The idea was sparked when Jessica, a manager at a national shell egg company, suggested they begin using chicken litter from local broiler houses to fertilize their fields.
Now, in addition to using the all-natural fertilizer to boost yields on their own land, they sell the product to other area farms and ranches.
The young couple resides in Halletsville with their two children, Blakely and Kade.
Both are involved in Farm Bureau activities at the county and state level.
Matt currently serves as the Lavaca County Farm Bureau chair for Youth and YF&R committees. Jessica is on the Lavaca County Farm Bureau board of directors. She also serves on the TFB Poultry Advisory Committee and served on the 2020 TFB Resolutions Committee.
“The Outstanding Young Farmer & Rancher competition recognizes farmers and ranchers between the ages of 18 and 35 for their hard work and dedication to Texas agriculture. This year’s contest highlighted some of the best young farmers and ranchers in our state,” Boening said. “Our three finalists each have unique operations and have found innovative ways to solve some of the challenges they face as young producers. But they also make time to be active in their communities and advocate for Texas agriculture. They deserve to be recognized for their efforts.”
The Hansliks also receive the title to a 3/4 ton, 4-wheel drive Ford pickup with a diesel engine, sponsored by Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Companies, and a $5,000 cash award, courtesy of Farm Credit.
Other finalists in this year’s competition include Slayton and Abby Hoelscher of Tom Green County and Alton and Adrienne Synatschk of Lamb County.
The two runners-up will receive a $500 cash award, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company.
As winners of the Outstanding YF&R contest, the Hansliks will represent Texas in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Achievement Award competition.
The winner of the national award will receive a new Ford vehicle up to a value of $35,000 and paid registration to the Farm Bureau FUSION Conference in Oregon, courtesy of Ford.
The national runner-up will receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor, courtesy of Case IH.
Third place in the national competition will receive a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet & Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card, courtesy of Case IH; a $2,500 Investing Your Future cash prize, courtesy of American Farm Bureau Insurance Services, Inc.; and $1,850 worth of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise, courtesy of Stanley Black & Decker.
Fourth place in the national contest will receive a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet & Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card, courtesy of Case IH.
Information on the contest and other young farmer and rancher activities can be found online at texasfarmbureau.org/YFR.