2017-12-04 / Front Page

Brown City-area farmer earns Young Agriculture Employee Award

Brown City-area farmer Scott Thomas was honored by the Michigan Farm Bureau with its 2017 Young Farmer Agriculture Employee Award. Brown City-area farmer Scott Thomas was honored by the Michigan Farm Bureau with its 2017 Young Farmer Agriculture Employee Award. GRAND RAPIDS — Five exemplary young farmers were honored for their achievements Nov. 28 at Michigan Farm Bureau’s (MFB) 2017 Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids. First named during National Agriculture Week in March, this year’s recipients of MFB’s Young Farmer Awards were recognized one last time for their outstanding accomplishments in four award categories.

Sanilac County faramer Scott Thomas earned MFB’s 2017 Young Farmer Agriculture Employee Award in recognition of his contributions to the success and long-term profitability of his employer’s business. Nominees are also judged on their involvement in Farm Bureau, agriculture and their community.

Thomas works on a 1,200-acre row crop farm near Brown City, raising corn, soybeans, wheat and sugar beets. He personally manages nearly every aspect of the operation, as well as its seed-sales sideline.

On the sales side, Thomas manages seed sales and distribution though a warehouse that moves more than 17,000 units of soybeans and 5,000 units of corn seed every year.

On the production side, Thomas handles all the planting, spraying, harvesting and employee management. The no-till operation maintains a priority on conservation, four years ago achieving verification in the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP).

Thomas personally monitors the condition of ripening crops and harvest- ed grain stocks to minimize potential moisture issues and maximize the quality of those grains — and therefore their value. So numerous are the efficiencies implemented on his watch that they enable him to run the operation almost single-handedly — exactly what he did recently when medical issues took his employer out of commission for nearly an entire calendar year.

Thomas boasts a lengthy resume of Farm Bureau involvement as an active volunteer in the Promotion and Education, Policy Development and Young Farmer programs, in addition to service on the Sanilac County Farm Bureau board of directors. Beyond Farm Bureau, he remains deeply involved in 4-H, FFA, his local church and volunteer fire department.

“Helping others is very important to me, and I’ve been able to coordinate several projects to do just that,” Thomas said, including community fundraisers to help alleviate burdensome medical bills for his employer and a local toddler struck with leukemia. He’s also nearing completion on a $130,000 fundraising effort for a new barn at the county fairgrounds dedicated to housing a Miracle of Life exhibit.

Looking forward, Thomas sees three ongoing trends competing for farmers’ attentions: managing conventional vs. organic practices; environmental issues rooted in the use of chemicals and other poorly understood technologies; and sound succession planning to help ensure family farms can be seamlessly passed from one generation to the next.

The Young Farmer Agriculture Employee Award winner receives a GreenMark Equipment tractor lease, AgroLiquid gift certificate and a paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conference, sponsored by the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture.

Source: Michigan Farm Bureau

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