Student Spotlight - Jeremy Kroeger

Posted: November 30, 2016 12:00:00 AM CST

Jeremy KroegerJeremy Kroeger is an agribusiness student, as well as a small business owner. He has owned his own farm for almost a year, and lived on one his whole life. He tells us a little bit about the process to owning a business, working on the farm, and transferring from UNL.

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up on a farm near Dannebrog, NE. We raise corn, soybeans, wheat, and grass hay. Growing up I always knew I wanted to continue farming. I was outside helping dad and grandpa every chance I got. Naturally, I wanted to continue my education in production agriculture. After graduating high school I chose to pursue an agronomy degree and entrepreneurship minor from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Why did you decide to transfer to UNK? 

During my time at UNL I focused a lot on how I was going to earn an income after graduation. I talked to several employers at job fairs and learned that most jobs would not have enough flexibility for me to continue helping on the farm. In early January 2016 I discovered another solution. A neighboring piece of farm ground came up for sale and I started to create a business plan to see if it was possible for me to start my own farm. With help from dad, an entrepreneurship professor, and the bank I was able to complete the purchase and start my own business. During that semester, I drove home from Lincoln twice a week. Ultimately I chose to come to UNK so I could be closer to the farm and be able to manage my business.

What was the most challenging part of transferring from UNL to UNK?

The most challenging part of the transition was changing my major. UNK did not offer an agronomy degree so I had to change it to agribusiness. Most of my classes were able to be transferred but I ended up being behind in the program. Also, I drive an hour to Kearney every day for class which has its own challenges. 

How did you overcome this challenge?

I am currently taking quite a few credits to catch up to where I would like to be in the degree program. Also I set aside a specific time to work on school work. Otherwise I often get caught up in farm work and it becomes hard to keep up in school.

What benefits have you seen from transferring?

I have been very pleased with my decision to change my major. So far I have learned a lot about accounting and economics that I have already been able to implement in my operation. The teachers help focus the classes on real world problems rather than learning the material out of a textbook. Also by moving back home I have been able to help on the farm again and our daily productivity has greatly benefited.

Tell us about your major in college and where you see yourself in the future.

After graduating with my agribusiness degree, I plan to continue farming alongside dad. I am looking forward to growing my operation in the future. My long term goal is merge both operations and have my kids grow up on our same family farmstead.

What has growing up on a farm done to make you the best person you can be?

The biggest thing it has taught me is work ethic. Timing is the most important factor in crop production and it takes a lot of work to stay on track. During the growing season I work at least 14 hours a day to keep the operation going. Also I have learned a lot about persistence. Most days don’t go as planned. Keeping clear and achievable goals has been the best way for me to continue working forward.

If you had to work on one project for the next year, what would it be?

My project for the next year is to start a second business. I am currently working in starting a custom spraying and dry application business. There is a lot of demand for trustworthy application operators in the farming community because farmers want to know that their investments are being used properly. I think that this venture will also help me achieve my goal of growing my farm.

Who is your inspiration and why?

My biggest inspiration is my dad. He has grown our farm quite a bit in the last 20 years. He is very knowledgeable in agronomy and I have learned most of what I know from him. I run all my ideas past him because he most likely has experience with it. We both share a love for agricultural technology. I also look up to Parker Schnabel as we are very similar in age. I admire the rate at which he has grown his mining operation and how he manages efficiency.

Where would you go in a time machine?

I would go back to the late 1980’s. Some of my favorite farm machinery was produced in that era and I think it would be cool to see it brand new. Also, I wish I could have seen bands like Alabama and Garth Brooks in their heyday.

What would you name the autobiography of your life?

Defying the Odds

By: Samuel Harper

Category: Business and Technology, Entrepreneur

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