Young farmers and ranchers are cultivating a bright future for Texas agriculture. This year’s Outstanding Young Farmer & Rancher finalists recognized by Texas Farm Bureau share a drive, dedication and passion for agriculture.
Each year, TFB’s Outstanding YF&R competition recognizes the accomplishments of some of the state’s top agricultural leaders between the ages of 18 and 35. The YF&R contest rewards the ambition, fortitude and dedication displayed by these individuals.
The 2020 Outstanding YF&R finalists are: Matt and Jessica Hanslik of Halletsville, Slayton and Abby Hoelscher of Wall, and Alton and Adrienne Synatschk of Olton.
“These young men and women work hard. They serve Texas Farm Bureau, their communities and Texas agriculture with strong dedication,” TFB President Russell Boening said. “We’re honored to recognize their passion and drive to provide food, fiber and fuel to families across the world.”
Finalists are chosen from each of TFB’s 13 districts. A panel of volunteer judges visited the finalists on their farms. The state winner will be named during the virtual opening session of TFB’s 87th Annual Meeting Nov. 30.
Slayton and Abby Hoelscher grow corn, cotton, grain sorghum, peanuts and hay in Tom Green and Haskell counties. Slayton is a first-generation farmer whose passion for agriculture began with a small garden and grew to a thriving farming operation. The couple is implementing minimal and no-till practices on their farms to enhance microbial activity and reduce soil erosion. Abby also works at Mueller Metals and Spring Creek Products in San Angelo.
The Hoelschers serve as the District 6 representatives on TFB’s YF&R Advisory Committee. Slayton also serves on the Tom Green County Farm Bureau board of directors, and he is the county YF&R chair. They are also both active in state YF&R events and county activities.
Alton and Adrienne Synatschk grow corn, cotton, grain sorghum and wheat. They raise stocker cattle, maintain a cow-calf herd and operation several custom businesses—spraying, swathing and trucking. In addition to that, Alton farms in a separate partnership with his two brothers. Adrienne also works at the Olton Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. The couple has four children.
The young couple is active in TFB and Lamb County Farm Bureau. Alton servers as the president of Lamb County Farm Bureau and is a past participant of TFB’s AgLead program, which is a two-year leadership development program that teaches members about agriculture and leadership from a new perspective. Adrienne is in the current class of AgLead.
Matt and Jessica Hanslik have a crossbred cattle operation and raise purebred Charolais cattle in Lavaca County. They also grow corn and hay. The Hansliks are part owners of an all-natural fertilizer company that recycles dry poultry litter from poultry layer facilities and provides custom application for farms and ranches. Jessica is also a regional sales manager for Cal-Maine Foods. They have two children.
Both are active in Lavaca County Farm Bureau and TFB. Jessica serves on the county board of directors, and Matt is the county’s committee chair for Youth and YF&R Activities. Jessica also serves on TFB’s Poultry Advisory Committee and served on the 2020 TFB Resolutions Committee. Previously, the couple served as District 12 representatives on TFB’s YF&R Advisory Committee.
The winner of this year’s Outstanding YF&R contest will take home the title to a ¾ ton diesel pickup, courtesy of Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Companies; and a $5,000 cash award, courtesy of Farm Credit.
The two runners-up will receive a $500 cash award, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co.
The state winner will also represent Texas in the national Achievement Award competition hosted by the American Farm Bureau Federation in January 2021.
The national winner 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, courtesy of Case IH.
Third place in the national contest will receive a Case IH 40-inch Combination Roll Cabinet and 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 (PROTO, DeWalt, Stanley, Lenox & Irwin), courtesy of Stanley Black & Decker.
Fourth place in the national contest will receive a Case IH 40-inch Combination Roll Cabinet and Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card, courtesy of Case IH.
The Texas Farm Bureau contributed this article.