Doug and his wife Anna own and operate Vilicus Farms, a 7,400-acre certified organic dry-land farm growing 12 to 15 grain, pulse, broadleaf and oilseed crops annually. Having started the farm “from scratch,” they share a passion for beginning farmers.
Growing up on a conventionally 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.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 at scale. Prior to launching the farm, Doug managed the State of Montana’s Organic Certification Program. He has served on the Board of the Organic Farming Research Foundation. Currently, he is the Board Chair of the Montana Organic Association and serves on the Board of the Organic Trade Association.