Harvest Heritage: Yoder Farms

Agriculture

LOVINGTON, Ill. (WCIA) – Levi Yoder of Lovington says his ancestors settled in the area nearly 100 years ago to help with the corn harvest.

“While he was here, he met and got married a year or two later and has been farming in the area ever since,” Levi said about his grandfather.

Today, Levi, his son Wayne and grandson Michael Yoder all farm family land and work closely with other landowners in Moultrie, Piatt and Coles counties.

“You’ve got to keep a good relationship with the people and be able to talk with them and meet their needs and expectations on their ground and being a quality producer that focuses on fertility and taking care of the ground and making sure things are taken care of properly goes a long way,” Michael said. “We do a lot of on-farm testing, so we focus a lot on data and we do a lot of plots and we have also ventured into organic farming as well. Back in 2015 we transitioned 160 acres to organic and recently we transitioned another 80 acres to organic. We do a few specialty crops that will differentiate us a little bit from other operations.”

“We do quit a bit of no-tilling,” Levi added. “We no-till all of our soybeans, we have for more than 10 years, and we find the longer we do it, the better results we had going along, and we don’t feel like our yields were suffering at all.”

What did Michael learn from Dad and Grandpa?

“When I first started in 2012 full time, I questioned pretty much everything that we did around here, and what I found as I question and research and try new things is that we end up circling right back to how we were doing things before,” Michael said. “So it was already in place but I have learned what works and want doesn’t work throughout the last 10 years and it’s been a good experience.”

“Over the last couple years, we’ve had a lot of challenges in agriculture. There has been quite a bit going on that has really disrupted the industry,” Michael continued. “What we found to be normal four years ago, three years ago, is very abnormal now; things like waiting on parts and machinery downtime causing issues. So we have built a lot of redundancy in our operation over the last couple of years to try to keep field work moving, even if you encounter problems like that.”

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