Years in the industry: 18
Family: Wife Kim, daughter Emily and son Kenny
Memberships and organizations: US Apple Membership/ Communication Committee, Chairman of Michigan Apple Association, Chairman of MSU Clarksville Experiment Station Advisory Committee
History: Chris and his wife, Kim, purchased the 135 -acre family farm, all in apples, about five years ago. A fourth-generation apple grower, Chris has a long history with the land which is ideally situated for apple production with nearby lakes.
Today, Chris has three managers that run the daily operations and his wife takes care of the books. Chris also works as a sales representative for the Valent USA, a California-based company that provides environmentally -sensitive pesticides and plant growth regulators.
Growing up in the Lowell area, Chris worked on the family farm. His great-grandfather Christian Kropf first owned the farm. It was later passed on through generations to Chris' grandfather Carl and then to his father and uncle, Ken and Roger, respectively.
Chris attended Michigan State University, where he spent two years in the Ag Tech program. He later graduated from Wenatchee Valley College (in Washington), where he received his degree in horticulture.
After finishing school in 1991, Chris went back and began working on the farm. The business underwent a substantial expansion in the 1990s with production peaking at about 2,500 acres of apples. Unfortunately, the farm experienced financial troubles that caused downsizing. Shortly thereafter his father passed away and Chris and his wife thought it was time for a change. In 2003, they decided to purchase the family business and Chris began working for United Agri-Products, where he was employed for four years.
Working as a sales rep for Valent USA, Chris enjoys the balance of owning and operating the apple orchard - even if he doesn't get to work on it daily,- working out of a home office and spending time on the road meeting people within the industry. Fortunately, he doesn't usually have to travel far from home and doesn't spend too much time away from his family. Chris enjoys the flexibility and diverse responsibilities that are all now a big part of his life.