Folks on the Farm: Trevor Wilkerson

Trevor Wilkerson Oil Barn General Manager

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Trevor Wilkerson. I grew up in Utah and I’ve lived in Montana seven years but I’ve also lived in Idaho, Arizona and other places in the west. I served a mission in Brazil for two years and studied Electrical and Computer Engineering with a math minor at BYU in Provo. I also took a few business and accounting classes in high school.

What is your position here in Big Sandy, Montana?

I’m the general manager at The Oil Barn® and the bookkeeper for several of Bob’s local enterprises, including Sand Coulee Farm & Ranch, which leases land from Bob, and Big Sandy Organics® (Kracklin’ Kamut®).

What are your overall responsibilities?

As the general manager, I make sure that we have enough oil for our customers. I make sure we have growers that are growing seed for the coming years harvest. And I make sure the seed is in good quality, which includes having the appropriate lab tests done. I track whether it’s too high in free fatty acids for our cooking vendors, and that it’s high enough in oleic acid for our soap manufacturers. And I make sure we have enough bottles, containers and supplies to keep The Oil Barn® going.

How long have you worked with Bob?

I’ve been working for Bob and his enterprises for a year as of this month. I started as the bookkeeper for Big Sandy Organics®, Quinn Farm & Ranch, and a couple of Bob’s smaller local entities. Then I started working with Andrew at The Oil Barn® as a sort of assistant, cleaning seed and filters and things like that. So I learned a lot of The Oil Barn® processes before Bob’s son-in-law, Andrew, left in April.

How did you become aware of Bob Quinn?

About ten years ago, I met Jerry Taylor—Bob’s daughter, Allison’s, husband—at church in Helena, Montana. I became good friends with Jerry and his family and a little over a year ago they’d mentioned that Bob was hiring a bookkeeper here in Big Sandy. So I applied and got the job.

What’s your favorite part of your job so far?

I like that it’s all organic. I like the rural community, the small-town feel. And the people I work with are great.

What sort of changes or additions would you like to make in your current position, and why?

I would like to develop a way to make “organic” as economic as possible, while still maintaining the quality our customers have come to expect in what is really a healthy, excellent product.

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

To strive to be profitable, I think is always a goal for a growing business. But we also want to be able to provide more jobs here in Big Sandy. And, of course, enjoy the work.

Did you grow up on a farm?

My dad was a farm mechanic in Roosevelt, Utah, so everything he fixed was tractors and trucks for local farmers and ranchers. But that was as close to agriculture as I got growing up.

What do you enjoy about working for Bob?

Bob has a great attitude! He’s upbeat and personable and he cares about what you’re doing. He’s also quick to share fresh fruits and veggies from his garden, orchard and dryland plots, which is always a bonus.

Were you familiar with organic farming before working for Bob?

Not specifically. I’d read about organic farming a bit and I’ve done some of my own research. But I hadn’t known anything about organic agriculture until I’d met Jerry and Allison about ten years ago and they started to introduce me to things.

What are your thoughts on organic farming?

Frankly, I think it’s the only way to farm. I think that if you do it any other way you’re not being a good steward of the land, which is something Bob mentions in his business mission statements. I try to buy as much organic as possible, not only to support the organic economy but to promote my own personal health; if it’s organic I don’t have to worry about what I’m eating.

In conclusion, has working with organic farmers changed your perceptions about farming and food supply?

Yeah. With my initial introduction to organic ten years ago, it’s become a key part of my outlook on health. I knew organic farming was good. But I didn’t realize how much effort went into organic farming or understand the practical application of how it all came together—with the green manure crops and everything. So that’s where I think I’ve learned a lot here and from Bob’s blog articles. It’s been really good to learn more about those practices.