Farming for Francis Krumm is 50-50 Partnership
"Farming for Francis Krumm is 50-50 Partnership With God." Dakota Catholic Action, 31 August 2003, 11.
The Hague Elevator is a good place for a visit. Farmers John Eberle and Terry Buechler (left and second from left) visit with elevator employee Derek Wald (seated) and Barry Baumgartner, elevator manager.
Francis and his wife, Kelly, have owned the Hague Elevator Company since 1996. "The elevator had gone bankrupt and closed," said Francis. "The community got behind me and it has been open ever since." He proudly stated that Kelly handles as the bookkeeping for the elevator and the farm.
Francis is also a grain farmer, something he has been doing since 1989. Most young men get into farming by taking over the operation from their parents. Not Francis. He started by renting some land and eventually bought it. One can tell by visiting with him, it is an occupation and lifestyle that he truly enjoys and one in which he takes great pride.
Francis and Kelly have five children – four girls and one boy – ages 5-11. "I’m encouraging all of them – the girls too – to go into farming," said Francis with a smile.
Prior to last year farming has been very good to the Krumms. According to Francis, very little was harvested last year. Most of the wheat zeroed out, sunflowers were pretty good, corn was on the lower scale and beans were about average. From 1992 to 2001, however, the crops were very good.
The Hague area and most of Emmons County, raises wheat, sunflowers, corn and soybeans. Overall this year the wheat looks to be average, while the others crops are yet to be determined. The county saw a lot of hail damage to crops earlier in the season. "One swath of hail west of Strasburg was about 15 miles long and 2 miles wide," according to Krumm.
Francis is quick to admit that the church plays a huge role in his farming operation. "I can’t imagine what it would be like without the church," he added. "It doesn’t matter what faith you belong to, we are all in this together. Farmers are very faith-oriented people."
He believes that the toughest thing farmer’s face is trusting in their faith enough that God has a plan to see them through. The second toughest issue facing farmers is finances.
He says he hasn’t seen too much stress among farmers in the area. "I guess everyone mellows out when it rains, and the stress goes up some when it’s dry," he said. But he also sees farmers as very private and independent people. "They don’t like to talk about their problems."
Krumm admits that farming is hard, but God is a partner to everyone
who farms. "He wants this to work because we feed the world,"
he said. "He wants to work because we feed the world,"
he said. "He wants to work with positive people, not the gloom
and doom type."
Francis knows we have a loving God who doesn’t want people to starve. "God farms with us. It is a 50-50 partnership with God," he added. "If it doesn’t rain, however, we think God isn’t carrying his part of the load."
Krumm believes that God will grind our faith and make it strong. "Faith is our rock. If we only had money and power, we would have nothing."
He admits that the best part about farming is seeing God’s nature unfold into a bumper crop. The flip side, however, is sometimes you have to dig down deep to keep the faith when your farming year doesn’t go so well.
Francis knows some young people who want to be farmers, but realizes that it’s a hard industry to get into. The farm population is getting older by the day.
Krumm also serves as the parish council president for the Church of St. Mary at Hague. With the priest shortage, he sees the people binding together more and being part of the church. Emmons County is made up primarily of German-Russian Catholics, who find it important to socialize around the church and church events.
As we were visiting in the elevator that Saturday morning, a hot, dry wind was blowing outside and the forecast was for temperatures around 100 degrees later in the day. Francis sat there with a smile on his face and talked about looking at the blessings God has given each of us. "We can’t have a bumper crop every year. People would not appreciate that," he said. "Look at what God did to the Israelites. They disobeyed him and didn’t appreciate what he did for them, so he made them wander in the desert for 40 years." He realizes we all need to go through some valleys to appreciate the mountaintops.
To sum up our visit, Krumm had these words for all farmers: "You’re doing a good job. Put your faith in God and go forward."
Reprinted with permission of the Dakota Catholic Action.