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Mother-son team keeps home fires burning

Ben and Joyce Kron
ON THE HOMEFRONT: When Randy Kron was elected president of Indiana Farm Bureau two years ago, Ben Kron (left) and his mom, Joyce, stepped up to the plate to keep the family farm running smoothly.
Help from mom is allowing this young man to learn about farming in a hurry.

When you visit Kron Farms on most days, you’ll find Joyce and her son Ben in the field. In the fall, that means Ben is likely in the combine and Joyce is in the grain cart. Her husband and Ben’s father, Randy, is there in spirit, but he’s often hundreds of miles away, tending to business for Indiana’s largest farm organization, Indiana Farm Bureau Inc. He’s also head of Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, a large farm insurance company in the state.

The transformation on the Krons’ farm happened quickly two years ago, when Randy was elected president of Indiana Farm Bureau Inc. He succeeded Don Villwock, Edwardsport, also a farmer, who retired after several terms at the helm as president. Randy, Evansville, was confident his family could make it work when he couldn’t be present on the farm. He does his best to be there as much as possible during planting and harvest, but sometimes he must wear his farm organization or business hat instead of his farm cap.

“Joyce has always been involved in our farming operation,” Randy says. “She knew that if I was elected president, more of the responsibility would fall to her. She was willing to take it on. She’s done a great job.”

Mother and son
Joyce knew she could rely on their longtime employee, Steve Glaser. She also knew she would get help from their son Ben. And it would be more than just someone to do physical work. Ben loves farming and is invested in making the operation work.

He spent two years at the University of Northwest Ohio, receiving technical training in mechanics and completing a two-year associate degree. It was a long drive from southwest Indiana, but Ben felt it was worth it. He says he benefited from a wide variety of activities he was exposed to during training at UNOH.

“He’s come back and he’s not afraid to tackle mechanical things and make repairs,” Joyce says. “He’s also up to date on the latest technology, and we’re encouraging him to explore technology for us to see what might pay here.”

That means everything from setting up the yield monitor and calibrating it as precisely as possible to scouting crop fields with drones, Joyce says. Although they live in northern Vanderburgh County, a large portion of the land they farm is farther west, closer to Griffin in Posey County. Broadband access is better there than where they live. Ben has learned to take advantage of the access to upload scouting information for stitching into whole-field images.    

“Since Randy is gone a lot, Ben has stepped up his learning curve about farming,” Joyce says. “Of course, Randy is only a cellphone call or text away, so we can discuss things, but sometimes you have to make smaller day-to-day decisions on the fly. Ben has received a fast introduction into making those kinds of decisions.

“If something breaks, you just can’t sit and wait for Randy to get home to fix it. We’ve learned together what to do and how to keep things going.”

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