Check all experience and education that apply to you and your farming partnersFarm/Crop management (3 years or less), Informal apprenticeship, Other experience/license/agriculture or business training
Briefly describe your current occupation(s) and responsibilities and list previous agricultural employment and experiences. If you are currently farming or ranching, please state the size, type(s), and location of the operation.In 2015, I assumed ownership of a Certified Organic farming business in Bridger, Montana after two years of working for the previous owners. I signed a three year lease with the previous owners for land and equipment. Unfortunately, they had a drastic life-change mid-season and decided they needed to sell the property. However we finished out a successful 2015 season having doubled our gross sales from the previous year.
Wholesome Foods Farm raised over twenty varieties of vegetables for distribution to a CSA, three farmer's markets in Red Lodge and Billings, and several wholesale accounts. The operation consisted of four acres of active production with one acre in a year-round cover crop. The uniquely long growing season in Bridger allowed us to produce large quantities of butternut squash for wholesale markets. I also built a root vegetable washer and stored over 3,000#s of carrots, beets, potatoes and onions for winter sales.
In addition to managing vegetable production, I assisted the previous owner with the husbandry of free-range hogs. I also managed the hog marketing 100%. I also tourism and food service experience and currently work in the nonprofit sector.
CountiesCarbon, Stillwater, Yellowstone
Type of OperationSmall Animal (pigs, rabbits, poultry), Vegetable, Other
Please elaborate on the type(s) of agricultural operation you plan on running.My strengths lay in crop production and, increasingly, in education and marketing, but I'd also like to utilize my family's skills to develop an agri-tourism business and possibly a value-added product line. Marketing opportunities in the Billings area are currently limited, so I believe that we'll need to diversify the operation to become economically sustainable.
I would like to continue growing vegetables for both direct to consumer and wholesale markets, but with a greater emphasis on wholesale production of crops uniquely suited to our microclimate (such as butternut squash and sweet corn) and on storage crops. I'm also very interested in organic seed production, but have no prior experience.
I'm interested in running on-farm classes in traditional skills especially related to gardening and cooking. I'm also very interested in running on-farm dinners in the style of the mid-west "pizza farms." My mother is an excellent cook and host, and would like to spend her retirement sharing her passion for these things. My partner is a skilled carpenter and would like to run his woodworking business off the farm.