Kevin Yon recognized as 2018 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo ‘Southeastern Famer of the Year.’
The Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern 2018 Farmer of the Year was awarded to Kevin Yon, a purebred Angus beef cattle producer and a leader in beef cattle and Angus breed organizations in Ridge Spring, S.C.
This is the 29th year for the Farmer of the Year award that recognizes excellence in agricultural production and farm management, along with leadership in farm and community organizations. The award also honors family contributions in producing safe and abundant supplies of food, fiber and shelter products.
Yon Family Farms encompasses 4,258 acres with 2,515 acres of rented land and 1,743 acres of family owned land. Family involvement is key to this farm’s success as Kevin’s wife, Lydia, is a full partner and their three children all work on the farm along with two of their spouses.
The Yons retain ownership on calves not sold for breeding, and feed most of them in a Kansas feedlot. They also feed out calves on their farm that are marketed through an Augusta, Ga., processing facility.
Forages are among the most extensive plantings on Yon’s farm. He has successfully grown alfalfa, and has become a new grower of soybeans and pecans.
The Yons also own a retail store in Ridge Spring where they sell pecans and beef from their farm, along with other South Carolina-grown products.
“Kevin is an outstanding farmer who has become a role model for others who want to farm,” said John Miller, president and CEO of Swisher International. “It is an honor for our company and our Swisher Sweets cigar brand to recognize Kevin for his farming accomplishments.”
As the Southeastern Farmer of the Year, Yon will receive a $15,000 cash award plus $2,500 as a state winner from Swisher International. He will also receive the use of a Massey Ferguson tractor for a year from Massey Ferguson North America, a $500 gift certificate from the Southern States cooperative, a Columbia jacket from Ivey’s Outdoor and Farm Supply, a smoker-grill from Hays LTI, and a Henry Golden Boy “American Farmer” Tribute Edition rifle from Reinke Irrigation.
Yon was chosen as Farmer of the Year over nine other state winners who were finalists for the award. The other state winners include: John DeLoach of Vincent, Ala., Luke Alston of Mena, Ark., Lynetta Usher Griner of Chiefland, Fla., James Vaughn of Forsyth, Ga., Darren Luttrell of Beaver Dam, Ky., Lonnie Fortner of Port Gibson, Miss., Howard Brown of Andrews, N.C., John Verell of Jackson, Tenn., and Paul Rogers, Jr., of Wakefield, Va.
Each state winner receives a $2,500 cash award and an expense paid trip to the Sunbelt Expo from Swisher International, a $500 gift certificate from Southern States cooperative and a Columbia vest from Ivey’s Outdoor and Farm Supply.