Jeremy Krause grows sunflowers as a cash crop the old-fashioned way: with patience and a helpful wife.
You’ve all heard the saying about a farmer outstanding in his field, with a play on the words “out” and “standing.”
The reason for that is farmers like to watch their crops grow.
Jeremy Krause of Vesta isn’t any different. His favorite part about farming is watching his crops grow throughout the season. His least favorite duty as a farmer is picking rock.
“If we’re busy in the semi, we get help picking rock,” he said. “Other times we try to do it ourselves.”
When asked about cultivating the weeds out of his crops, Krause said they spot cultivate.
“Round-up Ready® seed has made cultivating almost non-existent,” he said.
Krause farms about 250 acres of tillable land in two counties, Redwood and Yellow Medicine counties. He runs a balanced rotation of corn, soybeans and sunflowers. He added the sunflowers in 2008.
Having gone straight into farming after graduating from Wabasso High School in 1998, he first farmed with his late grandfather, Larry Krause of Echo, and now with his dad, Mitch Krause of rural Vesta.
In March, Krause is going to be undertaking the usual pre-planting activities. He anticipates ordering his seed and prepaying some of his fertilizer this time of year to get a discount.
“And, when it starts getting warm, like mid-March,” he said he would start preparing his machinery for the planting season.
Krause said his farming business is low-tech.
“We don’t have auto-steer; we still drive our tractors and do our bookwork by hand,” he said.
In addition to farming, Krause owns and operates his own trucking business. He makes runs to Herman for cracked corn, which he brings back to the Vesta Elevator to be sold as cattle feed.
He also takes trips to Fargo to bring back sunflower hulls that some Vesta cattle ranchers use as bedding for their livestock.
It was on one of those trips to Fargo, Krause was convinced he should try growing sunflowers. He said it worked out so well, he has talked other area farmers into trying it.
Farming is a way of life for the Krause family.
Even his wife Lynn gets into the mix come harvest.
“Combining sunflowers is a pretty slow process,” Krause explained. “She has more patience combining than I do.”
In addition to helping her husband in the field when she has time, Lynn teaches high school English in Tracy and helps coach their danceline team.
Krause has the luxury of living in two worlds, so to speak. He and Lynn, and their two-and-a-half year old son Carter, live on the southeast edge of Vesta where they can see the country and still enjoy city life.
“I have all the luxuries of living in town, city water and sewer,” he said, “with sharing a large backyard with the neighbors, like in the country.”