• EAHCP Steward

The Future of the Farm - Yablonski in on EAHCP programs for business and regional reasons

For the past 14 years, Adam Yablonski has been running the family farm just west of D’Hanis. With a degree in biology, he wasn’t sure that he wanted to be in the agriculture business. But, with his grandfather’s health failing, he took a second look at the opportunity. And his “give it a go” decision has turned out to be a great one.


Adam Yablonski

His family purchased the 3,300 acres of mesquite brush in 1970 and slowly began transforming it into a working farm. The two Edwards Aquifer wells drilled on the property provided ample water to flood irrigate the fields back in the early days. Today, about 930 acres are tilled year-round and water conserving irrigation pivots and drip systems are used to water the crops. Additionally, Yablonski uses soil moisture monitors to help him schedule his irrigation and limit water waste. He says those water-saving measures are great for the farm and the Edwards Region.


“This year we’re growing a mix of wheat, oats, corn, cotton, grain sorghum and sunflowers,” Yablonski noted. “In the past we’ve produced wheat, green beans, other types of vegetables and sunflowers. With commodity prices varying over the past few years, we’re relying on our mixture of crops to give ourselves the best opportunity to be successful. The rainfall over the past few years has been timely. We haven’t had to do a lot of pre-watering the fields before planting and that really helps us in our annual water use.”


As an agricultural irrigator, Yablonski knows the essence of farming success lies with the availability of water. But, he also understands the policy-making side of the water resource topic having served on the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) Board of Directors for six years.


Yablonski said he had started attending regional water meetings to learn the new rules and regulations, and when his area’s representative on the EAA board stepped down, he was asked to step up. And he did. 


“I was involved in not only the EAA board work, but the whole Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan (EAHCP) process as well. The approved EAHCP helped the Edwards Aquifer Authority acquire an incidental take permit from the federal government which protects the endangered species in the Edwards Aquifer. Obtaining that permit also gave the two million people who rely on the Edwards for their water some certainty in how much they can produce from the aquifer each year. The ASR Leasing and VISPO Programs and a few others which are part of the EAHCP efforts have helped farmers tremendously. I now have just under 1,500 acre-feet of water in ASR and VISPO, and that helps bring some dollars to our operation and gives us a means to manage our water like we do our crops.  Overall, we know the Edwards is a shared resource, so conserving water here helps others in the region.”


Yablonski sees a bright future to farming in this part of Texas. He pointed out some new, solar-powered well monitors that can report on water use in real time. Plus, the use of drip irrigation systems is now considered a best practice.


“I’d like to see this operation continue for generations,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of progress in adapting new technology and that gives us an optimistic outlook for managing an operation like this for many years to come.”


“I’d like to see this operation continue for generations,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of progress in adapting new technology and that gives us an optimistic outlook for managing an operation like this for many years to come.”