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Combine conversation with Indiana Farm Bureau president

Randy Kron on combine
CHAT ON THE GO: Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron has learned how to handle himself in the boardroom working on farmers’ behalf. Yet he’s still most at home on the farm, and he believes it’s important to maintain that connection.
Commentary: Randy Kron may wear several hats, but he’s a farmer at heart.

It wasn’t a typical Friday afternoon at Kron Farms. That’s because Randy Kron, Evansville, Ind., was home from his duties in Indianapolis and elsewhere as president of Indiana Farm Bureau Inc. He could lend a hand on the farm, helping his wife, Joyce, their son Ben and their longtime employee.

One other thing made it unusual. I was there to ride along with Randy as he combined soybeans. We both were looking forward to some time to chat in the quiet of the combine cab.

So you get home whenever you can? I do my best to be here as much as I can in the spring and fall. But there are many times when I just can’t be here. We have a good team with Joyce, my wife; son Ben and our full-time employee, Steve Glaser. Ben has moved into making some decisions faster than we might have envisioned before I was elected. Together they do a good job.

Isn’t running a large farm organization like Indiana Farm Bureau Inc. and being head of Farm Bureau Insurance a full-time job? Absolutely. There is no doubt about it. But I have excellent staff both with INFB and with Farm Bureau Insurance who can keep things running smoothly when I’m home on the farm for a day or two, or even a few days. I do my best to arrange important meetings so I’m available for them.

What do members think when you take a few days to work on the farm? The directors and many members in general have always made it clear that they want the president to be involved in agriculture. They told Don Villwock the same thing when he was president before me. He also maintained his farm operation while he was president.

Members tell me that they want someone leading the organization who understands what challenges they face. The only way to understand what farmers face daily is to be a farmer. When they’re battling low prices or potential government through overregulation, I’m battling the same things. It’s hard to understand what a farmer goes through if you’re not living it with him or her.

You said you had another personal reason why you like to stay connected to the farm. Yes. If I didn’t come home and farm as many days as I could each year and stay up with what Ben and Joyce are doing, I honestly think I would fall behind on technology. Ben stays up on things and recommends we try new technology when it seems like it makes sense and could return a profit on our investment. If I just walked away and didn’t stay in touch for two years, four years or even longer, I might not recognize what we were doing when I came back. Technology is changing that quickly.   

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