It’s been said that a dog is a good judge of a person’s character.
If that’s the case, Chad Geoit is bound for sainthood — at least in the eyes of Finn, his energetic rescue goldendoodle-turned-farm dog who’s always by his side.
In the office? Finn’s there — tucked away in his bed next to Geoit’s desk.
Scouting a field? Finn’s hanging out in the truck or tagging along between rows of watermelon.
“I didn’t get him just to leave him at home,” Geoit said.
Michigan Farm News tried to keep up with the pair as Geoit, winner of the 2022 Michigan Farm Bureau Young Farmer Agriculture Employee Award, went through his day as a sales agronomist for Wilbur-Ellis in Three Rivers.
Geoit works with seed corn, watermelon, soybean, green bean, hay, wheat, and potato growers to raise a crop profitably and sustainably. That includes making recommendations on things like choices for fertilizer and seed, as well as herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.
Darting through a bustling warehouse just a few steps away from his office, Geoit talked through the challenges of keeping up with ever-changing regulations on crop protection tools — just before jumping on a forklift. This all came on the heels of helping with some landscaping work near the Wilbur-Ellis building.
“Anything that my coworkers do, I want to at least know what it’s like to do it,” Geoit said. “I’ve ran sprayers and spreaders — I want to be able to do it and lead by example. A shepherd needs to smell like his flock.”
As the newly-elected president of the Kalamazoo County Farm Bureau, Geoit’s flock is bigger than ever.
The position builds on a robust history of Farm Bureau involvement, including membership in ProFILE — MFB’s premier leadership-development program for young farmers — and taking part in Young Farmer Discussion Meets.
“Being a Farm Bureau member is important because a lot of people like to complain, but unless you're involved, you don't have a right to. You need to be able to help guide and direct,” Geoit added.
“You don't have to be the president of your county or doing stuff every week or every month. I think it's important to be involved a few times a year with different committees and policy meetings to help direct where you think the industry or our policy needs to go.”
Like many people nowadays, Geoit grew up a few generations removed from the farm. He credits his parents for getting him enrolled in FFA as a child in Lapeer County as the start to his journey working in ag.
Even though he’s lived in Kalamazoo County for the past five years, Geoit still supports youth programs back home in Lapeer County, where he sponsors the Harold Gass Memorial Scholarship and serves on the selection committee for Lapeer County FFA’s Anthony Herbert Memorial Scholarship.
“Farm Bureau lets me be involved in and make an impact on the agricultural community,” he said. “It’s allowed me to network professionally and build relationships when I moved to a different part of the state.”
As the state Young Farmer Agriculture Employee Award winner, Geoit receives $5,000 off the first payment of a lease or installment on a 100-horsepower or larger tractor from GreenMark Equipment; a $1,000 AgroLiquid gift certificate; up to $1,000 of business/estate consultation from Clark Hill; and an all-expense paid trip to the AFBF FUSION Conference, sponsored by the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture.
Geoit’s advice for those starting out in the ag industry is simple: Never start where you want to end up.
“Start somewhere else and work towards your end goal. And then with that, find a niche market or something that separates you from everybody else. And don't be afraid to be that innovator,” Geoit said, adding “we're always going to mess up. It's human nature — God didn't make us perfect.”
But sitting at Geoit’s side in a field of watermelon, Finn might disagree.