Folks on the Farm: Caleb Kriser

What’s your name?  How’d you get here?

I’m Caleb Kriser. I met Bob at BYU Idaho about four and a half, five, years ago. Time flies. I was studying agriculture business and he came to one of our classes and gave a presentation. He talked about his Kamut® brand ancient grain, and he mentioned he wanted to make a snack food similar to Corn Nuts. Then he mentioned that they were looking at growing the grain in Kazakhstan and I speak Russian. Speaking Russian and agriculture combined I was like, hey that’s interesting, I have to talk to this guy!

What are your overall responsibilities for Kracklin’ Kamut®?

Pretty much everything right now. First it was developing the recipe. Second was setting up our processing facility. Now we’re more focused on the marketing side of things. I go to trade shows, promote the product, call retailers and tell them about the product. And when we actually have our retail packages, then we’ll be sending out samples and starting the sales process.

What are your experiences on a farm?

I have three years experience on a farm in Florida. We had cattle and grew watermelons and cantaloupe.

How did you get involved in the Florida farming?

My dad grew up on a farm there. They grew watermelons, had cattle, raised chickens, and we ate a lot of fried chicken. It’s where he grew up and I lived in Utah before that and he said, you know I want my family to have an experience on a farm. So we went down there and had a blast growing watermelons. In fact, I’d like to grow them this year.

What drew Bob to you?

I think certainly Bob wanted someone interested in agriculture, which I was. Probably wanted someone he felt like he could get along with, he gets along with everyone so that’s an easy qualification. I think in general he just wanted someone who worked hard, who showed that they had the ability to think things through thoroughly and put a business together.

You said you were at BYU Idaho, what did you get your degree in? 

I got my degree in Agriculture Business.

Very fitting.

Yeah! It’s kind of what I’m doing here. It’s very much a business setting but it’s still tied to agriculture. We’re using the inputs from agriculture and what I do is very dependent on farming and all that. Yeah, I’d say it’s pretty similar.

Did your schooling help with this position? 

I think it gave me a good background. Even just looking at logistics and where your raw materials come from. Things like that. A lot of schooling is just learning how to think, you know. I probably could have studied chemistry or economics or whatever and still done this but I think it was definitely helpful.

What do you enjoy about working for Bob?

Well, I like interacting with Bob. He’s a lot of fun. He has some unique views on life and things going on around us. There’re some good things to be learned from Bob. We have a lot of fun laughing and talking together, really. So, I’d say he’s personable and good to work for.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

Making millions of dollars. I’m just kidding. One day, maybe. You know, it’s kind of been fun to figure out, I don’t know, just getting to put a business together. Working in the organic world is kind of exciting. There’s a lot of enthusiasm, just health-minded people. I’ve done sales before, for a couple summers, and I kind of hated it because I wouldn’t have bought what I was selling. But with this, I get to create a product that I would buy and I’m sold on it. So it’s fun working with something that I enjoy myself. I think that’s what I like most.

What kind of goals do you hope to help Bob achieve in your work?

Well, this is Bob’s original idea for the Kamut® grain snack. From what I understand, this is what moved Bob to action to have an interest in the grain. Then he resurrected it and here it is today. So I’d certainly like this company to be a success, for people to enjoy the product, a good, healthy, wholesome product. Certainly promoting organic.

What are your thoughts on organic farming, then?

It’s good. Before I started doing this, I farmed out at Bob’s farm for a year. So I got to see everything that goes on. I had never worked on an actual wheat, barley farm. So it’s a lot of work but in the end you end up with a really good product that you don’t have to worry if it has any pesticides, herbicides, anything like that that you wouldn’t want in it. So I feel good about it. I think organic farming is a great thing.

Has working on an organic farm changed your perceptions about farming and food supply?

Yeah, certainly. Just when you see how it all happens together, from cultivating the land, to planting, to harvest. And in organic farming, all of the rotations and everything that goes in between. You see how much work goes into it.

How does organic farming affect Kracklin’ Kamut®?

I guess from the snack food side of things, just that we have an organic product that we promote with the nice little green USDA organic sign. Got it! We got the certification, too. Obviously having our safflower oil that’s organic, and our Kamut® that’s organic. It’ll be a huge selling point for our snack food. I guess that’s where the tie in takes place, we only use organic ingredients.

Tell us a little  bit more about yourself.

First of all, I’m married. I have a little boy and a little girl on the way and I enjoy spending time with them. Also, I’ve gotten into remote control planes, helicopters, quad-copters. In fact, the little GoPro that’s been filming a lot of things on the farm lately, I’d like to strap that thing to a quad-copter and get some rockin’ footage. I play the guitar some. I like to sing. And a couple fun little facts or just interesting things, I played Marius in the musical, Les Mis, and got to sing the, “empty chairs at empty tables.”  I’ve got some white hair right here. I’ve had it since I was born, so I must have had a nightmare in my momma’s womb. I’m like Pinocchio, if I lie my nose flares.

            Anyway, so those are kind of the odd things about me but I like to sing. I like spending time with my family. And creating this business has been a good experience.

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