Mark O’Neill, Media and Strategic Communications Director
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|Retired Penn State Research John Yocum is recognized with Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award during PFB’s 67th Annual Meeting in Hershey.|
For Immediate Release: November 14, 2017
(Hershey) – Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) presented John Yocum, who spent more than four decades as the scientist-in-charge of a Penn State University research farm in Lancaster County, with the 2017 Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award during the state’s largest farm organization’s 67th Annual Meeting in Hershey. The award is presented to an individual whose dedicated work and service has significantly contributed to the advancement of Pennsylvania agriculture.
Yocum, who returned to his native Columbia County after retiring, had multiple roles associated with the farm, including conducting agriculture research projects, performing the duties of an agronomy extension specialist and teaching a variety of classes. He also presented hundreds of speeches on farm production and hosted more than 200 field trips and tours at the Southeast Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
“John provides a perfect example of why agriculture research and cooperative extension programs are so critical to the advancement of agriculture in the state. His individual efforts and work with other colleagues have directly benefitted Pennsylvania farmers by making their crops more productive and more environmental friendly,” said PFB President Rick Ebert. “With the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award, we recognize the vast contributions John has made on behalf of Pennsylvania farmers and the agricultural community.”
Yocum, 78, was involved in a wide variety of research projects on the 155-acre farm, but is probably best known for his research and extension work that showed Pennsylvania farmers how soybeans could be a viable crop for them to consider growing and how soybeans could be a strong option as a double-crop in the state.
“Back in the early 1970s, soybeans were typically only used for forage and animal feed, but through our educational outreach, we helped farmers understand how they could grow soybeans that could also be harvested for grain,” added Yocum. “We also helped spark interest in raising double-crops, such as growing and harvesting winter wheat and soybeans on the same land in the same calendar year. About one-third of all acres of soybeans are now double-cropped in Pennsylvania.”
Hundreds of farmers from across the state attended Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s 67th Annual Meeting at the Hershey Lodge from November 13-15, to set policy for the statewide organization on issues affecting farm and rural families.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization with a volunteer membership of more than 62,000 farm and rural families, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.