Dryland Organic Agriculture in the PNW:
Meeting Opportunities and Challenges
A special symposium of the 2011 Tilth Producers of Washington Conference
Speaker Bio - Bob Quinn
Bob Quinn was raised on his family’s ranch southeast of Big Sandy, Montana. He has degrees in botany, plant pathology, and plant biochemistry. In 1983 Bob started Montana Flour & Grains, Inc. to market his grain directly to whole grain bakeries. In 1986 Bob planted his first organic certified crop, and by 1989 he was farming his entire operation organically. In 1986 Montana Flour & Grains introduced to the natural food industry an ancient Egyptian grain similar to durum wheat, which it marketed as Kamut®. Today over 2000 Kamut® brand products are marketed worldwide, providing a new crop for over 150 organic farmers in Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.
Bob has won many awards including the Montana Small Business Association’s Small Business Exporter of the Year (1995), the Montana Organic Association’s Lifetime of Service award (2007), and the Organic Trade Association’s Leadership Award for 2010. Bob also works closely with Montana State University personnel testing different crops, including dryland vegetables for local markets. Bob has been active in promoting organic and sustainable agriculture throughout Montana and the nation. He served on the first National Organic Standards Board and on Montana’s first Organic Certification Advisory Board.
Currently, Bob grows enough hi-oleic safflower on 5% of his land to supply fuel for his entire farm next year. He is working to translate this model into a system of fuel production that is farmer-owned and self-sufficient. His farming system emphasizes crops adapted to the northern plains and provides alternatives to conventional fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, summer fallow, and diesel fuel.
Bob and his wife Ann have four daughters, one son, and 14 grandchildren.