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Farm optimism a welcome change this season
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Farm optimism a welcome change this season

Crop Watcher Stoecker (11).JPG

Jeremy Stoecker and his dog, Mocha, stand beside the storage bins outside their seed building between Onaka and Tolstoy in northern South Dakota.

Farmers in Jeremy Stoecker’s neighborhood are optimistic.

After a few years of challenging weather, trade disruptions and low commodity prices, things turned around in early 2021.

“It’s nice to get one of those years,” Stoecker said.

At 32, the Onaka, South Dakota, farmer enjoys visiting with other producers through his seed business. After five years in ag retail, Stoecker returned to the farm and sold Pioneer corn, soybeans and sunflowers as a way to supplement income. Now with a new building for the seed business, he’s able to keep his inventory and treat soybeans out the door.

Stoecker has an agronomy degree from South Dakota State University. He’ll serve as Tri-State Neighbor Crop Watcher for the next six months, giving bi-weekly reports on crop conditions and farm happenings around Faulk County in northern South Dakota.

Stoecker farms with his dad, Jeff, and younger brother, Darin. They grow corn, soybeans, and sometimes wheat when the market makes sense. They also have a cow-calf operation.

While they all help each other out, Jeremy’s focus is on crops while Darin takes care of the cattle.

“It’s a team effort,” he said.

Crop Watcher Stoecker (3).JPG

Jeremy Stoecker farms with family and sells seed in northern South Dakota near Onaka. 

The weather cooperated for spring calving this year, and planting got underway May 1 for the Stoeckers. By mid-month when the Tri-State Neighbor visited, corn planting was about 80% complete, and soybeans were around 30% done. This year, they had just one rain delay, over Mother’s Day weekend.

Planting went more smoothly than the last two years, when the Stoeckers were unable to seed some of their ground due to wet conditions. They claimed a lot of acres under prevented planting provisions of crop insurance, Stoecker said.

Moisture is often the most limiting factor to bin busting yields around Faulk County. Recent wet years made for some of the Stoeckers’ best crops.

Last fall’s harvest went smoothly. There was one October snow storm that had people worried – especially after early snow put a stop to harvest in 2019.

“That sent chills down peoples’ spines,” Stoecker said.

With the grain in the bin, he was able to turn to some of the fall fieldwork he doesn’t normally get a chance to do. That included working those prevent plant acres and cleaning up from weed growth. It made for nice ground to plant into this spring, he said.

Crop Watcher Stoecker (22).JPG

Jeremy Stoecker farms with his dad, Jeff, and younger brother, Darin. They grow corn, soybeans, and sometimes wheat when the market makes sense. They also have a cow-calf operation.

Jeremy and his wife, Chantel, have three kids. Chantel teaches high school math in Hoven and helps out with field work in the summer months. With school out in May, she was planning to be running the rock roller, Jeremy said.

“She’s a farm girl at heart,” he said.

Their kids are Aubrey, 8, Kenzie, 7, and Jayden, 4. They enjoy camping and trips to the Missouri River near Pierre.

Along with farming, Jeremy keeps busy as president of the Hoven Co-op Service Co. board. He is vice president of the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church council and a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Janelle is editor of the Tri-State Neighbor, covering South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, northwestern Iowa and northeastern Nebraska. Reach her at jatyeo@tristateneighbor.com or follow on Twitter @JLNeighbor

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