As a student at Iowa State University, Javan Kruse never thought he’d return to the family farm operation right away. But after graduating in 2007, an opportunity was waiting, and he did just that.
The person who had operated a sow unit with Javan’s parents, Keith and Joyce Kruse of Everly, was looking for a career change. He eventually sold his house near Hartley to Keith and Joyce, and after college, Javan moved in and began farming. A year later, Javan bought the place.
Javan and his dad handle the bulk of the farm operations and supervise five employees at their sow unit. In addition to their barns, three individuals do custom feeding. They quit grinding their own feed nearly six years ago, and now do business with an area feed mill. Annually, they sell 30,000 feeder pigs exclusively to Tyson in Storm Lake, and do all of the trucking transportation. They also have row crops: 1,500 acres of corn and 1,000 acres of soybeans.
Javan is the fifth generation to farm around the area. His grandpa started farrowing pigs when he returned from serving with the U.S. Army in Korea, and the business grew from there. Also, Javan is the second generation to be honored as a Master Pork Producer. His parents were recognized as 2014 Master Pork Producers. Javan said he’s spoiled to have a wife who understands that, at times, farming takes everyone in the family to keep things moving.
Javan and Danielle are members of the Clay County Pork Producers. Danielle, who grew up on a farm a few miles from their current home, is a 4-H leader and enjoys teaching youth about all aspects of agriculture, including sustainability. “It’s not just putting a little food in front of a pig and watching it grow,” she says. They also help at the Clay County Fair in Spencer.
They attend Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Royal. Danielle is involved with a nonprofit community child care facility and the South O’Brien School District, as well as works two days a week as a sonographer at the Orange City hospital. In addition, Javan is a member of the Primghar Golf Course Board.
They have three children: Ali (5), Nate (3) and Ryan (1).