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Yarling honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Edwin Yarling, patriarch of Yarling Farms, addresses the crowd after receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award Wednesday at the Shelby County Ag Promotion banquet at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.

By JEFF BROWN - jbrown@shelbynews.com

The words “this used to be a small little thing” were echoed several times at the Shelby County Ag Promotion banquet at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.

Now it is one of the biggest events hosted at Indiana Grand.

Scholarships were awarded, an award was presented and two guest speakers highlighted an event for over 500 people.

Following scholarship presentations to Triton Central senior Abi Eck and Southwestern senior Danille Bassett, emcee Alan Washburn delivered the introduction for the Lifetime Achievement Award – a tale that started in the late 1800s.

Edwin Yarling was born in 1935 to Raymond and Thelma Yarling, who had a farm that produced cash crops and livestock. Edwin quickly learned the ins and outs of farming as the Yarling homestead continued to grow.

Edwin graduated from Moral High School in 1953. A few years later he met a fiery, red-headed waitress at a restaurant owned by her parents. Sharon Dover became Mrs. Edwin Yarling on Nov. 10, 1956. They had four children who continued to learn the ways of farm life.

On Jan. 20, 1965, Edwin and Sharon Yarling opened Morristown Lanes – a small bowling center in the heart of downtown Morristown. Farming was still part of their lives, though. 

Following his father’s footsteps, Edwin was elected a Shelby County commissioner in 1970 – a role he held through 1978. All while expanding his family’s farming business in Fairland.

Since then, the Yarling children have joined the business and the farm became incorporated while continuing to expand. 

“Since 1922, when Raymond moved to the property now known as Yarling Farms, the family has grown and prospered,” read Washburn. “Yarling Farms is currently occupied by seven different households across four generations – all living within a one-mile radius of the original homestead. The farming operation continues to flourish.”

In 2022, Yarling Farms will celebrate its 100th anniversary of continued operation. 

On Wednesday, Edwin Yarling received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I want to thank everybody here tonight, and my family for nominating me,” said Yarling after receiving the honor. “It’s been a joy to farm in Shelby County for all these years. I hope to continue for a few more years yet.”

Following the presentations, Bruce Kettler, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, addressed the crowd to discuss the current state of the ag industry in the state.

Keynote speaker Michelle Miller then entertained the crowd about the myths involved with farming and food production. Known online as the “Farm Babe,” Miller has a large online following as she refutes nonfactual stories surrounding the farming industry.