Calhoun County Farmer Recognized for Environmental Stewardship

Steve Yoder Jr., accepts a 2016 CARES Award with U.S. District 2 Representative Gwen Graham

Steve Yoder Jr., accepts a 2016 CARES Award with U.S. District 2 Representative Gwen Graham

The County Alliance for Responsible Environmental Stewardship (CARES) program has always focused on promoting environmentally sound farming practices while educating the public on agriculture’s role in protecting Florida’s Natural Resources. On Jan. 23, with U.S. Representative Gwen Graham in attendance for her North Florida Farm Tour, Steve Yoder Jr., was recognized with a 2016 CARES award for implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs) on his farm in Altha, Fla.

Crooked Creek Farms began in 2008 when Yoder purchased the original farm from his mother, Carolyn Yoder-Ebersole, after his father passed. Yoder, a third generation farmer, manages family land that was settled 63 years ago when his grandfather, Monroe Yoder, moved to Florida. Today, with help from his four daughters and his wife Michelle, Crooked Creek Farms produces peanuts and operates two cattle enterprises consisting of cow/calf and stockers in parts of Jackson and Calhoun Counties.

As true stewards, the Yoder family has implemented BMPs since Crooked Creek began in 2008. These practices include fencing off wetlands and creek bottoms to prevent erosion and maintain water quality, rotational grazing to allow time for regrowth between grazing periods, and the use of RTK GPS guided equipment for efficient application of seed, fertilizer and crop control products. Real Time Kinematic navigation systems are accurate to within one inch, which helps prevent overlapping, saves time and fuel, and reduces inputs. Mr. Yoder also practices strip till and no till farming practices to reduce erosion and build organic matter in the soil.

Mr. Yoder and the Yoder family believe that as producers, they have been given a great responsibility to implement environmental practices that are consistent with good stewardship. Through their implementation of sound-science based management practices, they have shown a commitment to protecting Florida’s natural resources for generations to come. On behalf of Florida Farm Bureau Federation and the CARES program, we are proud to recognize them with a 2016 CARES award.