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Laron Krause

Laron Krause
Laron Krause

Eminent Leader in Agriculture, Family, and Community

County: Deuel

Growing up, Adam and Brent Krause, often heard their dad, Laron say, “make time for what matters.” At 61, the Clear Lake farmer continues to put these words into action.

“A person can always make excuses that they don’t have time to volunteer. But I just think, “OK, we better work harder today or get up earlier or work later, so that we have time to do whatever needs to be done - whether it’s for the family, or the community, or the church,’” explained Krause, who together with his now grown sons, raises crops and partners in a farrow-to-finish hog operation, Supreme Pork.

Over the years, his family, local church and many South Dakota agriculture commodity groups have benefited from the time Krause willingly shared. Krause has served on boards of United Methodist Church, South Dakota Soybean Association, South Dakota Corn Utilization Council and South Dakota Pork Producers.

Recognized for his leadership and volunteer efforts, Krause was named a 2021 Eminent Leader in Agriculture, Family and Community by South Dakota State University Colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and Education & Human Sciences.

Right out of high school, Krause attended Canby Vo-Tech and began farming fulltime with his dad, Edwin, and Grandpa Art after graduating. Thanks to a 4-H and FFA project, he already owned some sows.

Although the Farm Crisis of the 1980s was not the ideal time, Krause said he had no other career plans.

“I had a passion for agriculture. I really enjoyed it and there was really nothing else that I wanted to do,” Krause said.

Over time, he expanded his farm acres, became a certified seed grower/dealer and together with some neighbors, started Supreme Pork, a farrow-to-finish hog operation.

“By pooling our resources together there was economy of scale that I could not do alone on my farm,” Krause said.

Supreme Pork also served as a way to add value to the farms’ corn acres. Krause utilizes the manure to improve soil fertility and crop yields.

“You talk about sustainable agriculture, spreading livestock manure is the start of it. My dad and grandpa were doing that back before “sustainability” was a buzz word,” Krause said.

Sustainability of resources has always been on the forefront of Krause’s mind. “Taking care of soils is important so my boys and grandchildren can use this same soil,” said Krause, who implements variable-rate precision agriculture technology as well as minimal tillage practices to enhance soil health. He has recently started trying out cover crops. “Obviously we need to be profitable. But when raising crops, we need to be thinking many years down the road. It comes down to paying attention to detail.”

Krause credits 4-H and FFA with teaching him the value in attention to detail. And as a parent, he values the opportunity the organizations gave him to spend time helping his children with their show hogs.

“Showing pigs was something we all enjoyed and could do together as a family,” he said.

Krause and his wife, Jolene have three adult children: Tiffany, Adam and Brent. After their children left home to pursue degrees at South Dakota State University, and before they became grandparents, the couple also served as foster parents.

Because of the certified seed business and Supreme Pork, Adam and Brent were able to return to the family farm after college. “We go the extra mile and add value to everything instead of farming more acres,” Krause explained.

Krause relies on unbiased research-based information from SDSU to aid him in maximizing on-farm profits. Over the years he has donated to research advancements, like the South Dakota State University Swine Education and Research Facility.

“Agriculture is ever-evolving, and we need the next great idea that they will share with us to help us make our farm more sustainable and feed the growing population of the world,” Krause said. “I give back to SDSU research because I hope my boys and grandchildren will continue to farm. I hope the last crop I produce, my fields are in better shape than the first crop I produced.”