Fellows Network




Anna Jones-Crabtree

Vilicus Farms, Owner/Farmer, Vilicus Farms & Executive Director, Vilicus Training Institute

Helena, Montana

Anna and her husband Doug own and manage Vilicus Farms, a first generation, organic, 9,600 acre dryland crop farm in Northern Hill County, Montana. They grow a diverse array of organic heirloom and specialty grain, pulse, oilseed and broadleaf crops under five and seven-year rotations. In eleven seasons, Vilicus Farms grew from a 1,280 acre farm to a 9,600 acre nationally recognized farm by using USDA’s beginning farmer programs, employing extensive conservation practices, and fostering unique risk sharing relationships with food companies and land investment firms. With over 26% of their land in non-crop conservation and 400 acres seeded to native pollinator habitat, Vilicus Farms became Bee Better certified in 2019.

Vilicus Training Institute (VTI) launched in 2013 to bring a new generation of land stewards to the Northern Great Plains.  Since then, VTI has supported the farm in hosting over 11 apprentices, numerous interns, and too many farm campers to count.

Anna is a Donella Meadows Leadership Fellow and a recipient of the White House Greening Government Sustainability Hero Award.  She holds a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a minor in Sustainable Systems from Georgia Institute of Technology.  Anna served on the USDA Secretary’s Advisory Council on Beginning Farmers & Ranchers. She currently serves on the Xerces Society Bee Better Advisory Board. 

Given the realities of farming, Anna still has an off-farm job with the USDA Forest Service.  After several decades fostering more sustainable operations she is now currently serving as the Director for Data Governance for the Northern Region.  

Most importantly, Anna, Doug, and their three Jack Russell Terriers, are avid members of the Lentil Underground (http://lentilunderground.com/

 

Updated February 2020.