Eco-Sensible Crop Farming in the Northern Great Plains of Montana

Tim is working this summer at Vilicus Farms, a 10,000 acre, organic, dry land (not irrigated) specialty grain and pulse (edible legumes like beans and lentils) farm. A New Haven native and long-time NYC resident, he is departing from his city roots to farm in big sky country for the summer to learn first-hand how sustainable, eco-sensible farming can be done at scale.

Just south of the Canadian border in the Northern Great Plains of Montana, Vilicus Farms implements and promulgates a number practices to improve their land, the local ecology, and the salubrity of their crops, including: minimal tillage, cover-cropping and inter-cropping, long-term crop rotations, integrating livestock, and farming in narrow strips interrupted by native pollinator strips to increase biodiversity and create bee and animal habitat. Besides on-farm work, this summer Tim will be researching and writing a white paper and presentation to deliver to the Montana Organic Association in December 2020. It will feature contract clauses and other mechanisms that farms can use to de-risk and share risk throughout the supply chain, a particularly necessary feature of specialty crop farmers who don’t receive as much coverage under federal support and crop insurance policies as their more conventional neighbors.

COLLABORATOR

Vilicus Farms

STUDENT RESEARCHER

Tim Ibbotson-Sindelar, Western Resources Fellow |Tim Ibbotson-Sindelar is a joint Master of Environmental Management and MBA candidate at the Yale School of the Environment and the Yale School of Management. He is studying U.S. food and agricultural systems with the aim to shift the present paradigm to support the health of ecosystems and humans, and create financial incentives and stability for farmers to improve their land and local ecosystems. He holds a BA in economics from Haverford College. He previously worked as a financial litigation consultant, and more recently as a produce procurement analyst at an online grocer. See what Tim has been up to.  |  Blog