Innovative Risk & Reward Sharing Between Farmers and the Supply Chain for Biodynamic and Organic Grain, Pulse and Oil Seeds

UHPSI research assistants are working with Vilicus Farms to review and compile strategies for sharing risk and rewards across non-food supply chains and propose ways to implement and adopt them in the food supply chain. Vilicus Farms is a grain, legume, and oilseed farm located in the Northern Great Plains of Montana pioneering organic, ecologically responsible farming at scale. Vilicus Farms aims to redesign not only the farm, but also how the farm fits into a larger supply chain and economic system. This project recognizes the inherent imbalance of risk that exists at the farm level and how that imbalance prevents organic acreage expansion. As such, the team is exploring mechanisms and alternative economic structures that more equitably share and realign risk and rewards across the supply chain. The results of this research will be useful in two significant ways: 1) Vilicus Farms plans to implement some of the ideas generated in future contracts, and 2) Vilicus Farms will present and share the ideas throughout the organic farm and supply chain networks in which it is an active member.

Photo by Tim Ibbotson-Sindelar


Vilicus Farms | Website



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

Charlotte Benishek, Research Assistant|Charlotte Benishek is a joint MBA and Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of Management and Yale School of the Environment. She is interested in the connection between sustainable agriculture and rural economic development. Charlotte’s interest in sustainable agriculture began as a teenager growing up in Wisconsin, where she worked on an organic farm. Before coming to Yale, she worked in the U.S. Senate as an advisor to Senator Tammy Baldwin on agricultural and environmental policy. Charlotte holds a BA in environmental studies from Wellesley College. See what Charlotte has been up to.  |  Blog

Viola Taubmann, Research Assistant|Viola Taubmann is a Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of the Environment, focusing on sustainable agriculture and agroforestry. She is particularly interested in conservation on agricultural land and international development. Viola previously worked on ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change at the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and on agricultural policy in the European Union. She holds a B.Sc. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from the University College Freiburg in Germany and was a visiting student at the University of California, Los Angeles. See what Viola has been up to. |  Blog