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Award Honorees

Doug Crabtree, Vilicus Farms

2014 : Organic Farmer of the Year Award

Growing up on a conventional managed farm in Ohio, Doug Crabtree never imagined he’d be anything else than a farmer. However, over time, he has become not only a passionate advocate of organic farming, but a steward helping others become organic farmers.

Earning a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University and a Masters in Plant Science at South Dakota State University, he first worked with an investment firm interested in organic farming. This experience confirmed that organic farming was not just economically viable but also economically advantageous over conventional farming. He subsequently served as an independent organic inspector for five years, gaining perspective on the challenges facing organic farmers, and later joined the Montana Department of Agriculture in 2001 as Organic Certification Manager.

In 2009, he and his wife and partner, Anna Jones-Crabtree, purchased their first organic acreage in northern Hill County, Montana. Since then, they have actively farmed while setting up a mentoring apprenticeship program to actively engage new farmers in growing organically, giving them hand-on skills needed to farm successfully.

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