By Amelia Miller
LANSING — Michigan Farm Bureau has named Kyle Crumbaugh of Gratiot County, Brad DeCock of Macomb County, Lyndsay Earl of Mason County, and Andrew Heinitz of Van Buren County as the 2018 Young Farmer Agriculture Employee Award finalists.
The Young Farmer Agriculture Employee Award recognizes successful young agriculturalists, ages 18-35, employed by a farm or agribusiness. The award judges seek qualities of hard work, intelligent planning and development of leadership skills leading to success in the business as a whole as well as the broader agricultural industry.
Finalists will compete in an interview process on April 6 to select the statewide winner. Each finalist will receive a $400 cash prize and jacket compliments of the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture. The award winner will receive $5,000 off the first lease payment on a 100 horsepower or larger tractor from GreenMark Equipment, $1,000 AgroLiquid gift certificate and an expense paid trip to the 2019 AFBF FUSION Conference.
Crumbaugh is employed by a cash crop farm which raises sugarbeets, corn, soybeans, wheat and edible beans. The farm is actively engaged in crop research through partnerships with Michigan Sugar Company, Michigan State University and official variety trial plots. Kyle is responsible for a combination of machine operations and business responsibilities. From soil sampling to planting rate decisions to maintaining the farm’s Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance program verification, Kyle plays an integral role in managing the farm’s production and environmental impacts. Kyle holds a degree in agribusiness management from Michigan State University. He and his wife, Mackenzie, reside in St. Louis.
DeCock is employed by a wholesale greenhouse in Macomb County. The business raises herbs and annual flowers in its 50,000 square feet of greenhouse space and three outdoor acres. Some of the herbs are propagated at this facility then sold to neighboring greenhouses for direct to consumer sales. DeCock manages all deliveries and shipments at the greenhouse. He maintains all seeding records and is responsible for seeding most herbs and vegetables grown. Brad also installs and maintains the irrigation system. Brad serves on the Macomb County Farm Bureau board of directors. He holds a degree in greenhouse and nursery management from Michigan State University. Brad and his wife, Ashlee, reside in Clinton Township.
Earl is employed as a member representative with Michigan Milk Producers Association dairy cooperative. In her role, Lyndsay works with dairy farms ranging in size from 10 to 1,500 cows. Earl assists farmers in monitoring milk quality, delivers training on effective, healthy milking procedures and provides recommendations on overall cow herd health. Lyndsay supervises an internship program offering a work-based experience for second-year veterinary medicine students. She is actively engaged in agricultural education efforts within Mason County and at the state level through Michigan Farm Bureau’s State Promotion and Education Committee. Lyndsay, her husband, Seth, and their two daughters, McKenzie and Madisyn, reside in Ludington.
Heinitz is employed by a farm in Van Buren County. The farm raises seed corn and soybeans on its more than 4,000 acres. Heinitz is responsible for tilling, planting, maintaining and harvesting these crops as well as maintaining equipment. During the growing season, Heinitz assists with irrigation of the crop and detasseling the seed corn crop. Heinitz supervises an additional full-time employee and any part-time seasonal employees. Andrew serves on the Van Buren County Farm Bureau board of directors and has served in volunteer capacities for the Van Buren County Junior Livestock Association and Country 4-H Club. Andrew resides in Schoolcraft.
Michigan Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Award program honors deserving individuals in the categories of Young Agriculture Leader, Achievement, Employee and Excellence in Agriculture. All finalists and award recipients will be recognized at Michigan Farm Bureau’s 99th Annual Meeting, November 26-29, 2018 at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.