2015 Production Agriculture
“Throughout his involvement in both the private sector and in government, a hallmark of Mike Yost’s service has been his interest in working to make U.S. agricultural production more efficient and open to trade between the U.S. and foreign markets. He has been an effective ambassador for modern agriculture to the broader U.S. and world communities for more than 20 years.”
—John Gordley, Washington Representative, American Soybean Association
Mike Yost is a fourth-generation farmer. After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, he went to work for Pillsbury as a grain merchant. Six years later, the lure of the land brought him back to the farm in Swift County that has been in the Yost Family since 1876. The Yost family farming operation has since grown to about 5,000 acres of corn, soybeans and alfalfa, as well as a partnership with Riverview LLP, a dairy operation with multiple sites near the Yost farm.
Yost mentors area youth who are preparing for careers in farming, and together with five young farmers, Yost started CY Harvesting, a custom harvesting operation that annually provides 200,000 tons forage for Riverview. This gives the young farmers ownership opportunities and employs up to 60 people from the community.
Yost has served as the president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, and was president of the American Soybean Association. In addition, he was the founding member of the National Biodiesel Board. Yost was elected chairman of the American Oilseed Coalition, served as appointed member of the USDA Biotech Advisory Board, and then contributed as a member of the USDA/DOE Biomass Advisory Board.
In 2004, Yost was appointed Associate Administrator of the Farm Service Agency where he was responsible for administrating 45 programs including CRP, price support programs and agricultural disaster relief. Yost served as Administrator of the Foreign Agriculture Service from 2006 to 2009 working on trade agreements, food aid programs and leading trade missions. In 2004, Yost received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Soybean Association, and in 2007, he received the Superior Services Award from the USDA and the Outstanding Alumni Award from the U of M Department of Applied Economics.