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University of Minnesota Extension

Houston County Farm Family

Kruse Farms, Inc.

Kruse Farms started in 1961 when Donald and Belva Kruse purchased the original 160-acre farm. In 1965, they added an adjoining 100-acre farm. At that time, the Kruse family milked cows and raised beef cattle and hogs. Belva also raised butcher chickens and laying hens.

The couple’s sons, Charlie and Kevin, joined the operation in 1980. Over the years, an additional 580 acres were purchased by the Kruse families. They grew corn, soybeans, hay and oats. The family also raised beef cows and calves, feeder cattle were purchased and finished, and the farm was home to a farrow-to-finish hog operation.

Currently, Charlie and his wife, Julie, and Kevin and his wife, Karen, are the owners of the farm. They own and rent 1,500 acres of cropland growing corn, soybeans, oats, and hay. The families raise 250 beef cow pairs and fatten all their calves. They own a 1,200-head hog nursery that is rented out.

Charlie’s son, Jacob, and the brothers’ nephew, James Sweet, work on the farm seasonally as they are able. Jacob and James have full-time jobs off the farm. Julie and Karen work off the farm as well.

Charlie and Julie’s family includes Kristin and Jonah Ross; Jacob and Chrissy Kruse; Lindsey and Derek Nelson; Carrie and Jesse Klug; Jesse and Aubrey Buttell and Megan Buttell. Charlie and Julie have 10 grandchildren.

Kevin and Karen’s family includes Emily and Mark Stein; Laura and Isaac Goetzinger; Sarah and James Little. Kevin and Karen have three grandchildren.

Charlie is a retired member of the Eitzen Fire Department where he served for 32 years. He is currently a member of the board of directors for the Equity Northeast Iowa Sales Barn. The Kruses are members of the Houston County and Allamakee County Cattlemen’s Associations.

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