Farmer about to start planting soybeans

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association / Joclyn Bushman)

Member spotlight: Neil Krummen, Linn Grove

July 6, 2023 | Joseph Hopper

There are many stories about young farmers returning to the farm after college. Neil Krummen, of Linn Grove, has a slightly different story in that he’s literally brought his northwest Iowa family farm back to life in some ways.

“I grew up where I’m currently farming,” says Krummen. “In 2013, I got married, and my wife and I started row-cropping corn, soybeans and a little bit of hay. We had about 160 acres of row crops split fairly in half and back then about 200 head of sheep and 30 head of goats.”Farmers standing in field during planting season

He continues, “Being fairly fresh out of college and wanting to do it as cheap as possible, I resurrected my dad’s old equipment that wasn’t used for a decade, including a four-row John Deere planter. The first year, I planted 160 acres of crops with the four-row open station tractor, and it took me three days to plant. I quickly found out why people upgrade their equipment.”

Farming with friends and family

Krummen graduated in 2011 with a degree in ag business from Iowa State University. His wife Sandy is the vice president and branch president of a Sioux Rapids bank. They share their farming dream with two of his best friends from high school. His father also takes part in the farm’s activities.

“It’s cool how we cover ground; when us three guys are together, the efficiency is incredible. We have a successful partnership between us,” Krummen says. “It’s great to work with people you know and can trust; they’re basically brothers. We’re all married. Our wives are our support group. They all know the time involved during harvest and planting seasons.”

They all understand creating efficiencies where possible, too. That includes a machinery upgrade.

“Compared to that first year, my partners and I have a 24-row planter and a 16-32 narrow row planter and can probably plant 300 acres a day with either one of those,” he says.

Advocate for agriculture

The Linn Grove farmer says he’s known about the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) for a while thanks to a family friend: ISA District 1 Director Chuck White. Ultimately, it was ISA Director of Public Affairs Michael Dolch and the Policy Leaders Fellowship (PLF) program that convinced Krummen to get involved with the association.

“PLF got me hooked, and I plan on staying involved in one way, shape or form,” he says. “I’ve enjoyed being in PLF because you gain an understanding of how policy starts, how important it is, and the ways that farmers voice their opinions and talk to their associations.”

That grassroots approach to policy expands to efforts in the state and to D.C., Krummen notes.

“All those policies have to start somewhere,” he says. “When Michael goes to D.C., he’s the one putting the pressure on your representatives saying, ‘This is what we support, this is what we want, don’t forget about us.’ If you don’t tell them what you want, they won’t know.”

Farmer with planter in field

With his friends and family by his side, Krummen says the sky is the limit for the many more years of farming ahead.

“I’m just excited to see how this grows,” says Krummen. “In 10 years, I could never have dreamed I would be where I’m at this year. Especially with my partnerships; we don’t know what our limits will be and what we can and cannot do.”

They’re expanding their efforts in regenerative agriculture and understanding how soybeans are a part of that system. He’s looking forward to growing personally and professionally through and with ISA.

“On a personal note, I just want to know how to be more involved with advocating soybeans, corn, and agriculture in general,” he says. “I love talking to people and networking; I just want more people to know what we’re doing here and how cool it is.”