Robert “Bob” Quinn—the 2007 recipient of the Montana Organic Association Lifetime of Service Award—is a progressive leader in promoting organic and sustainable agriculture throughout the state of Montana, and the rest of the world. The Organic Trade Association awarded Bob the 2010 Organic Leadership Award for his contributions in the “Growing Organic Agriculture” category and in 2013, he was named the recipient of Rodale Institute’s Organic Pioneer Award.
In 1986, Bob’s company Montana Flour & Grains introduced the natural food industry to an ancient Egyptian wheat, called khorasan (similar to durum wheat). This grain was marketed under his own brand name, KAMUT®, (the ancient Egyptian word for wheat). Through the trademark, Bob has been able to preserve an ancient grain and guarantee it is not genetically modified or altered. KAMUT® Brand khorasan wheat is grown under strict production guidelines and is exclusively grown organically.
Bob Quinn has taken on an influential role in farming, even inspiring state leader, U.S. Senator Jon Tester, to become one of Kamut International’s growers. Over 2,000 different KAMUT® Brand khorasan wheat products are being marketed through the world providing a new, sustainable crop for many organic farmers. Bob, a Farming Futurist, is always looking for ways to improve and sustain the land. With two partners from Germany, he formed WindPark Solutions America, which was responsible for the development of Montana’s first large scale wind farm.
Continuing to be at the forefront of farming developments, Bob works closely with Montana State University personnel on testing of crops, including dryland vegetables for local markets, as well as new farming methods. These systems may be the next wave adapted to the northern plains and will provide a substitute for the use of conventional fertilizer, pesticides, summer fallow and even diesel fuel.
On a mission to educate and farm eco-consciously, Bob is currently studying dryland vegetable production and a project designed to grow and process enough straight vegetable oil (SVO) on his farm to run all the tractors and combines for the farm.
Bob is a member of the Montana Grain Growers Association and the Montana Farm Bureau. He is a past president of the Chouteau County Farm Bureau and has served on the American Farm Bureau’s Wheat Committee and Grain Quality Committee. He has also been active with the Alternative Energy Resource Organization (AERO) in Montana and received AERO’s Sustainable Ag Award in 1988. In 1993, he was named one of Montana State University’s 100 outstanding alumni during their first hundred years.
Additionally, he helped form Montana’s first Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) chapter in 1987 and served as its first president as well as on the international board of directors. He served on the first U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Standards Board and has also served on a USDA agriculture research advisory committee and on Montana’s first organic certification advisory board.
Bob continues to farm full time and promote organic and sustainable agriculture, locally produced food and fuel, as well as promoting the idea that food should be our medicine and medicine should be our food. He also promotes food production systems based on producing high nutrition and quality rather than high yields. For Bob Quinn, experimenting with crops is the most enjoyable part of farming. He studied to be a plant scientist, his first love is growing plants and his whole farm is his laboratory. His love of the land continues to fuel his desire to change the agricultural landscape of America—one grain at a time.