Featured Partner Profile: Becky Krause, First PREMIER Bank
Left to right: Alissa, Robb, Becky, Kasey Bigelow, Landon and Riley
One of the greatest challenges for farmers and ranchers today is managing their businesses amid tremendous volatility in crop and livestock markets and high prices for the inputs they need to run the operation.
Becky Krause brings a unique perspective to addressing these challenges. As a manager and Vice President at First PREMIER Bank in South Dakota, she works with farmers every day to help manage the business aspects of their farms and livestock operations. As an owner of a family grain and livestock operation, she also understands the day-to-day realities of caring for livestock and the land.
Becky manages the six northern locations of First PREMIER Bank, a privately owned South Dakota bank with 17 locations in the state. First Premier has an ag department consisting of six lenders and three assistants, and also sells crop insurance.
First PREMIER is a member and supporter of Ag United for South Dakota, as well as a number of other ag groups and events, including the Watertown Winter Farm Show, the Sioux Empire Farm Show, South Dakota Cattleman's Association, Crystal Springs Rodeo, Annual Watertown Farmers Appreciation Banquet, 4-H Achievement Days Premium Sales in Hamlin, Codington and Deuel Counties, Deuel School FFA corn plot and banquet, Annual Proficiency FFA Award, Safety Camp, and First Grade "Day at the Farm.”
Becky grew up on a dairy and beef farm in Deuel County. After marrying her high school sweetheart Robb Krause, they began a small dairy operation and started feeding cattle. Krause Livestock LLC is headquartered south of Clear Lake, South Dakota, and is now a diversified livestock and grain operation with a cow/calf herd, feeder livestock, corn ,soybeans, alfalfa, oats and wheat.
Robb and Becky have three children. Riley, 25, and Landon, 22, are both involved in the farm. Riley focuses on crop, feed and machinery, and Landon’s responsibilities are livestock care and feeding. Their daughter Alissa will graduate from Deuel High School in May 2014, and will attend SDSU in Brookings for ag and elementary education
“Being able to have our children so close to us and working together in an industry we love is the most rewarding part of farming,” she said. “I grew up on a family farm in Deuel County and value the opportunity to live and work with our most valuable assets, our children.”
The family is active in a number of community and agriculture organizations, including the Clear Lake United Methodist Church. Becky teaches Sunday School and confirmation classes and leads the youth group, and is on the Stewards Against Childhood Hunger committee that provides week-end backpacks for Deuel Elementary students. She also serves on the Lake Area Technical Institution’s Foundation Board of Directors and as the chairperson of the finance committee.
They also work to share information about modern production agriculture, including hosting several tours a year to different buying groups for the meat industry. There is definitely a concern for safe food, but also a desire from the non-ag population to learn how their food goes from the field or feedlot to their plate, said Becky.
“The comment that we hear all of the time by groups that visit our farm is that they didn’t know how much physical work and attention to detail is involved in the operation,” she said “During a feedlot tour, Robb often explains that our livestock eat a much more balanced diet than most American consumers!”
The economic benefits of agriculture in South Dakota are wide ranging, from supporting individual families and strengthening rural communities to driving the state’s economic engine.
“Farm families keep our local businesses going. There is an incredible economic benefit in having local farm families spend their money on crop and livestock expenses, along with living expenses,” she said. “There are millions of dollars that roll through our local community because of agriculture production. It is a source of employment and livelihood for our community.”
Becky is also excited about the future of agriculture in South Dakota and the opportunities for current and future generations.
“It has been almost two decades since we have seen this much interest with the younger generation wanting to be involved in ag production. It is refreshing to know that our children want to carry on the tradition of farming together as a family,” she said.