All Aboard Harvest | Steph: Crops and kids
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Steph: Crops and kids

Grafton, North Dakota—In the simplest of simple terms, you could currently describe my day-to-day existence in two words; crops and kids. Between the task of growing baby girl Cronje till Aug. 17—yes, a date has been set unless Mother Nature ‘kicks’ in before that—attempting to chase our little Jack around now that stillness is “no fun” for him anymore (he is getting faster, I’m getting slower) and keeping an eye on the crops in area, there isn’t much room for anything else these days.

The year 2022 marks the first year that House Cronje put their first crop in the ground; sugar beets. Pieter has been keeping a close eye on them and they are looking green and fluffy, just what you like to see this time of year. My growers who planted Golden Harvest corn or soybeans through my seed sales business are all seeing good results so I’m very happy to see that. With the spring flooding the Red River Valley weathered, farmers in our area were at least a month or more behind regular planting schedule. The corn acres are way, way down to reflect the late planting as farmers weren’t able to get their corn in the ground before the crop insurance date crept up on them. Another factor that caused a plot twist in crop rotation was the release of 100% Targeted Acres Program acres through American Crystal Sugar. Without being too wordy, TAP acres are additional sugar beet acres that a farmer can apply for each growing season. To put it in perspective, normally American Crystal only grants 7 to 10% of TAP acres, so the fact that they granted 100% is madness.

But, all things considered, crops are coming around. Wheat has started to head out, getting ready for its harvest debut shortly after barley gets knocked out. Harvest will likely be a little later but for us, it couldn’t have worked out better than if we planned it. Normally, wheat harvest and sugar beet pre-pile would be in a fist fight for attention around that Aug. 17 mark but with the later planting, I may actually have a husband at home for a few days after baby girl joins us. Am I counting on it? No, because as we all know, why gamble when you can be a farmer? The odds are even less in your favor and there is a whole lot more than cash money on the line.


Mom’s ad in our local paper, the Walsh County Record, while she campaigned for city council.

Beach selfie with mom.

My little beach bum.

A nice little size comparison for you. My biggest pregnancy craving this round has been the peach milkshakes from Chik-Fil-A so it only seemed fitting.

Mini donuts are always a good idea, but even more so at the fair.

Some GH corn along the highway, complete with a pretty sign.

Tractor rides with Uncle Brandon.

My coworker, Dan, unloading some fresh treated GH soybeans into Purple.

Grandpa Bob and Jack.

Grandma Loree, Steph and Jack, enjoying way too many Shirley Temples at an anniversary party.

Checking fields with dad. Jack loves his little toes in the dirt!

The first of many tractor selfies. This was taken on Jack’s first birthday, the day he also had his first tractor ride!

Stephanie Cronje can be reached at

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is brought to you by ITC Holdings, CASE IH, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, US Custom Harvesters Inc., Unverferth Mfg. Co. Inc., Lumivia CPL by Corteva Agriscience, Kramer Seed Farms, and High Plains Journal.

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