The way Kore Yoder tells the story, his father and mother, Noah and Amanda Yoder are the "father and mother" of organic farming in the Lewisburg area of Pennsylvania. Of course, the entire family, humble as they are, would shrug this off.
Back in 1975, when Kore was 21 years old, he remembers his father inviting Irv Jasperson from Wonderlife™ to the farm, because his brother-in-law who lived in Ohio was terrifically impressed with Irv's point of view. This began their journey toward organics. "I don't think there was anyone like Irv at the time," Kore recalls fondly. "He had done his homework. Wonderlife™ methods changed our farm."
"Irv was traveling the country, reminding farmers about the wisdom they had lost," remembers Kore. "Back in the 40's when the chemicals came along, if you started to use herbicides, you didn't have to take the time to cultivate. I can understand how that was immediately attractive. Farmers in those days believed what they were told. We were told that there were no side effects from the use of chemicals on us, or the soil. In those years the focus wasn't on quality, it was on quantity," Kore remembers.
Family, faith and farming – these form the center of Kore and Miriam Yoder’s lives and those of their four children. Kore’s ancestors have farmed in Pennsylvania for 11 generations and his lineage stretches back countless centuries, to sustainable family farms in Germany and Switzerland.
Bev-R-Lane Farms, is nestled into a valley surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains with a creek flowing through the farm year-round. Like other historic Mennonite and Amish farms in the agricultural region, the Yoder farm enjoys good soils and a comparatively benign climate. Their barn and house are dated to the early 1800s. As a child, Kore always helped his dad on the farm. Kore later partnered with his dad and eventually in 2003, he and Miriam bought the farm from his parents. The elder Yoders live on an adjoining farm and Kore’s 80+ year-old dad still likes to help out on the farm.
The Yoders have 45 Holstein and Holstein-Jersey cross milking cows and graze them on 60 acres of lush pasture planted with a mix of alfalfa and orchard grass. Kore says they’ve been using organic practices since 1975 and became officially certified in 2000. Kore says, “When you do good crop rotations, you don’t need to use herbicides and pesticides.” Kore is proud to be a member of Organic Valley because of their high standards and serves as a representative from Pennsylvania on the co-op’s Dairy Executive Committee.