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Meet a Farmer: Alan Krick
Alan Krick views his life as a farmer and a father as a glass-half-full proposition. “Oh my gosh, I love farming,” he confesses. “I wake up every morning, even during these times of trade wars, regulations, and environmental challenges, and I feel like it’s another day in paradise. How fortunate I am to have this opportunity to be a farmer and to live this life with my family.”
Hard-pressed to remember a time when he didn’t want to farm, Krick prepared for his future in agriculture growing up farming with his father, Paul (now deceased), and by attending Idaho State University, where he got an associate degree in diesel mechanics.
His family came to farm in the Palouse when his grandfather, Henry, literally walked from Minnesota to the region to work on a harvest crew in 1908. “I think of the challenges he faced getting started farming, and I feel so fortunate to be able to enjoy this life thanks to him.”
SF: What are the challenges you are facing?
AK: The trade war certainly is impacting us here, as so many of the crops in this region are exported, particularly to Asia.
A looming concern is weed resistance to Roundup, which is just starting to occur in this area. A lack of chemical alternatives (to Roundup) has me very concerned, as it is so vital to crop production here, particularly to my minimum-till program. We very much need the industry to develop weed-control alternatives.
Finally, we are facing a huge threat from environmentalist demands to have the locks and dams on the Snake River and the Columbia River removed. Those rivers are an essential transportation lifeline to this area.
SF: What is it like to farm in the Palouse?
AK: We farm hills that are so very steep that we must have a hillside combine to harvest them. But this area is ideal for agriculture. These loam hills are very rich, and we receive enough rainfall to grow 100-bushel-plus wheat, for example. It is really remarkable country that every farmer should visit.
SF: You feel very strongly about FFA.
AK: FFA had a big impact on me growing up. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for FFA. You know, FFA in my day was all about cows and plows. Now it is about leadership and life skills. I’m very involved with our school’s program today through our local FFA alumni chapter helping to raise funds and judge competitions. It is a wonderful experience working with these kids seeing the huge potential they present. I’m excited to see what FFA is doing for my son and what it will offer my daughter.
SF: Your volunteering doesn’t end with FFA.
AK: I feel strongly about volunteering. I serve as commissioner on the Genesee rural fire department and have been school chairman for 13 years. It’s my way of giving back and helping the community.
SF: Do you hope your son or daughter can join you farming?
AK: I think that is every farmer’s dream. My son, Jacob, recently said, “Well, my future is pretty well planned. I’ll be a farmer.”
I responded, “Son, you don’t have to be a farmer unless that is your passion.” If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, it’s not a job, it’s a joy. That is what I hope for my children.
SF: I heard you starred in a movie ?
AK: (laughs) Yeah, sure. I was in a movie, Talent for the Game (1991), all of a whole few minutes acting as a baseball umpire in a scene about a rural pitcher being considered for the pros. I even got royalty checks! I recently received one for a grand total of $4.
Editor’s note: An equally big thrill for Krick is having his shop featured on the Successful Farming Show. You can take a tour of his shop November 29 and December 1 (both appearances air at 9 p.m. CST on RFD-TV as well as on the Successful Farming channel online at Youtube.com
Background: Alan Krick farms with wife Debbie, son Jacob, 16, and daughter Kaylee, 12, in the rich rolling Palouse region of western Idaho. His operation’s crop mix is diverse and includes both hard red and soft white wheat (he grows both spring and winter varieties), malting and food barley, soft green peas (split peas), Austrian winter peas (black peas), garbanzo beans, and, occasionally, lentils.