A New Year: 2017 Resolutions

They say the key to committed and successful goal-making is to write them down, review them often and share them with others. Here at Quinn Farm & Ranch, goals are what propel us to a greater understanding of our land, our businesses, and our own individual expectations. Goals are something everyone can relate to, whether you’re an organic farmer near Big Sandy, Montana or an urban gardener in New York City. Goals can direct us to better ourselves and the world around us. Successful businesses and individuals make goals a priority and we’re no different here.

Each year we gather around our kitchen table for our first bi-weekly planning meeting of the year over a stack of warm KAMUT® grain sourdough pancakes and list what we want to achieve in the coming year. It’s one of my favorite meetings of the year, if for no other reason than the sense of optimism and possibility.

My main focus for 2017 is to find a farm mechanic to add to our team here in Big Sandy. I am also working on establishing a permanent research center on the farm. And I hope to complete several book and video projects concerning the first 30 years of the KAMUT® grain story.

One of my farm manager Seth’s annual goals is a set date to complete spring seeding. If you’re a farmer, or even a gardener, you know that planting times can make all the difference. If you plant too early and the ground is still too cold, you risk a low germination, or growth, rate and higher weed competition. But if you wait too long, you risk running out of moisture. Moisture and weed management are key to dryland farming here in northern Montana, so we work hard to meet this goal. Obviously, we’re at the mercy of the weather, but there’s always the hope that there will be enough dry days in the spring to plant and enough rain in the early summer to grow. Seth is also looking at increasing the diversity of our crops a little more this year.

My produce manager, Charley, is gearing up to jump into a little local public relations for our orchard and dryland vegetables. The idea is to create awareness of the farm as a producer of more than just wheat. By getting involved in community events, Charley will have the opportunity to not only involve local friends and neighbors on the farm, but to educate them about the benefits of food sovereignty as well as sustainable, organic agriculture. He is also looking to expand our local dryland vegetable and seed production market with the goal to make these enterprises more self-sufficient this year. And he made a lot of progress toward this goal last year.

Our newest addition to the farm crew, Chad, has extensive experience with and interest in cattle. And for the first time in 32 years, Quinn Farm & Ranch is looking to add cows back into our operation. This time they will be a part of our organic crop rotations and organic research. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as this idea moves forward.

It’s no surprise that my son-in-law, Andrew, at The Oil Barn® has seen a continual increase in interest for our cold-pressed, hi-oleic, organic safflower oil. It’s a great product! Keeping up with demand, however, has been a challenge. Every year we’ve used the seed from each harvest with very little to spare. Thankfully, this last year was the best we’ve ever had for our safflower. So Andrew’s aiming to increase production to better meet both our loyal customer’s current needs as well as new interest. So if you haven’t tried it, now’s the time!

And last, but certainly not least, the manager for our Kracklin’ Kamut® organic snack, Thomas, is approaching his first full year with the Big Sandy Organics company. He has big plans, including a larger facility, support staff, and increasing consumer availability. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll understand the appeal, as well as the demand. I also understand we may see some new flavors in the coming months, so be sure to check back for updates.

Overall, 2017 is looking to be a very productive year. So, stay tuned.