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Yon Family Wins Environmental Award

Environmental Stewardship Award logo.SC Family Wins Environmental Award

Yon Family Farms is Region II Recipient of Environmental Stewardship Award


Yon Family Farms of Ridge Spring, S.C., (Saluda County) was selected as one of seven regional winners of the 2008 Environmental Stewardship Award (ESA). The award, now in its 18th year, is administered by the National Cattlemen�s Foundation and sponsored by Dow AgroSciences L.L.C., USDA-NRCS, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The award recognizes cattle producers from across the nation who utilize innovative, cost-effective stewardship practices that contribute to environmental conservation.

Sally Yon preparing sweet corn for customers.

While the Yon's sole income is produced from the sale of cattle, the children also make a tidy profit selling sweet corn. Above, Sally Yon prepares sweet corn for customers.

”The Yon family exhibits tremendous stewardship with regard to pasture management, forage preservation, crop implementation and water quality improvement,“ said SC NRCS State Conservationist Niles Glasgow. “They�ve utilized the resources available to them to partner in developing stewardship and conservation goals."

Established in 1996, the farm is family-owned and operated, and managed by Kevin and Lydia Yon and their three children. The farm includes 1,500 acres of cropland, hay and pastureland. It�s also a diversified Angus seedstock operation that incorporates income from the sale of seed and feed for livestock, freezer beef and the children�s sweet corn sales. They believe in whole-farm conservation, focusing on the big-picture when it comes to stewardship.

The Yon's worked closely with SC NRCS District Conservationist Hugh Smith, who helped them apply for technical and financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Forestry Incentives Program (FIP), Conservation Security Program (CSP), and the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP). The Yon�s implemented no-till, practice rotational grazing, nutrient and pest management, and forage and soil sampling.

Glasgow says, “Working as a family unit, they have built one of the most reputable seedstock operations in the Southeast, and I am proud that NRCS is working with them to assist them in their continued efforts to be outstanding stewards of the land."

Through EQIP, Yon Family Farms has made their beef cattle operation more efficient, while maintaining their belief in whole-farm conservation.

Yon Family Farms has been home to many outreach and education activities including producer tours, educational studies, and hosting of interns. They have also worked closely with other cattle producers to share information and swap ideas.

"They have a solid understanding of the interdependence of natural resources, and their approach to conservation works,“ concluded Smith.

The 2009 National ESA winner will be selected from one of the seven regional winners and revealed at the 2009 Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, in January.

In addition, the Yon's will be recognized at a special luncheon during the January 2009 SC Conservation Partnership Conference in Myrtle Beach. They will also deliver a presentation at this conference in an effort to share their conservation success story. Congratulations to this dedicated SC farm family. For more information, contact SC NRCS Public Affairs Specialist Amy O. Maxwell at