Dane Kruse loved growing up on a farm and looked forward to returning after college graduation. He shares, “agriculture is in my blood and is my passion.” Dane is now a 6th generation farmer raising Niman Ranch pigs on his family farm in western Iowa.
Q: As a child, did you envision you would return to the family farm?
A: Ever since I played on the dirt floor in our machine shed as a toddler watching Dad work on equipment, I knew I wanted to follow in Dad’s footsteps. As a farmer with children, your dream is for your children to want to farm when they grow older. As I’ve grown up as a farm kid, my number one priority in life has always been to return to and expand the family farm.
Q: What inspired you to choose to farm after graduation?
A: My heritage was already calling my name to follow that career path, but my dad has had the biggest impact on my path to farm. I watched him put together everything we have. I want to give back to him and carry on his passion.
Q: How did the Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation help you achieve your goals?
A: The Next Generation Scholarship helped me financially with college and always kept me on track towards my agricultural goals. The Next Generation Foundation helped me out during a difficult time and I am returning the favor raising hogs for Niman Ranch.
Q: What would you say to thank and show Next Generation Foundation supporters how much their donations have meant to you and other scholarship recipients?
A: You have kept my student loans low and allowed me to invest in improvements on the farm and expand our capacity. Raising more hogs and, in turn, quality pork raised with care is my thank you. Also, thank you for purchasing meats from Niman Ranch. Us farmers wouldn’t be able to have our businesses if it wasn’t for you.
Q: How do you feel your upbringing on a farm influenced your life?
A: I think Paul Harvey said it best when he wrote the poem “So God Made a Farmer.” My upbringing was full of different experiences, watching the amazing birth of piglets, sitting on the porch with my family as a gentle rain came down, dealing with tough times ($3.00/bushel corn) and being a genuine steward of the land we live on. Living on a farm we experience all of God’s great creations and take them in with every breath we breathe in. These experiences influenced me to take advantage of the beautiful things in life and the only way I’m satisfied at the end of the day is if I put in a hard day’s work.
Q: What is one thing you wish people who aren’t familiar with farming knew about farming and life on a farm?
A: I wish people would see the true compassion and love for the lifestyle we live. Only 2% of the U.S population are farmers. I think they have it the best out of everyone because farming is truly full of indescribable experiences.