July 28, 2008

Yon Family Farms Gets National Recognition

By Haley Hughes, Aiken Standard, S.C.

Jul. 28--RIDGE SPRING -- Yon Family Farms in Ridge Spring has been recognized for its environmental stewardship.

The farm received the regional 2008 Environmental Stewardship award from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association for its commitment to being environmentally conscious while providing consumers with safe beef products. The primary product out of Yon Family Farms is registered Angus beef.

Ever since the farm began 12 years ago, the Yon family has been implementing environmentally sound practices they believe play a part in the greater scheme of things.

Some of those practices include rotational grazing so the cattle don't completely strip the land of foliage; fencing out streams and lakes and instead having the cattle drink from troughs; and a no-till method when it comes time to plant to reduce soil erosion.

"The practices are not only good for the land and the soil but also good for the grass that the cows then eat. It goes hand in hand," said Kevin Yon. "We're just stewards of the land. Everything we've done has been a win-win."

"We make sure there is wholesome, safe food for people to eat," Lydia said.

They went a step further and have also replanted a 25-acre tract that is managed for timber production and erected 20 bluebird houses around their land.

Before starting their own farm, Kevin and wife Lydia managed one. When they started building Yon Family Farms, they had only 100 acres and 100 cattle. Today, the Yons and their three children own 575 acres and manage 1,500 acres of crop, hay and pasture land.

Kevin and Lydia used local and government resources like the Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Saluda Soil and Water Conservation District to aid them in their efforts.

The family knew their farm had been nominated for the Environmental Stewardship award, but they didn't expect to win.

"We were pleasantly surprised," Lydia said. "It is a very nice honor to have received. We were very humbled."

Kevin said taking care of the land is a privilege and a responsibility he and his family don't take lightly.

"It is a blessing to get up every day to take care of the land, the cattle," he said.

"You want to leave the land in good shape for future generations," Lydia said.


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