Engineer takes up farming, too
Many Americans may have lost their jobs in the COVID-19 pandemic, but 26-year-old Clark Kroupa gained one.
Relocating to his family’s farm near Lincolnville and continuing to work as a Caterpillar engineer remotely during the stay-at-home order, the 2013 Marion High School graduate discovered he could do both engineering and farming.
So now Kroupa has obtained 80 acres, is looking for more land, and plans to farm while still working as an engineer.
“The job promises more flexibility in working remotely,” Kroupa said Monday. “All I need is a laptop, an internet connection and the tools I use — mainly email and digital meeting apps to communicate with the supplier.”
Kroupa grew up on his family’s ranch and went on to Butler Community College and Kansas State University for a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He was hired right after graduating by Caterpillar Inc. as a product development engineer.
“I develop operator controls,” Kroupa said. “I’m also working with the supplier, reviewing quality controls, and communicating with partners of Caterpillar.”
Kroupa balances his engineering skills with his passion for farming.
“I was actually moving the cattle to pasture before you called,” he told an interviewer.
The high average age of farmers in the country doesn’t discourage Kroupa. While he knows only a few farmers who are his age, he is confident enough in his history with farming to buy his own land and begin his own operation in Lincolnville.
“I’ve been growing up with the family farm, and I enjoy carrying that on,” he said. “The opportunity to manage my engineering job as well as farm is something I have taken advantage of.”