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Anna Jones-Crabtree

Economic Advisory Council
Owner and Farmer, Vilicus Farms, Montana

Anna and her husband Doug own and manage Vilicus Farms, a first-generation, organic, 13,000-acre dryland crop farm in Northern Hill County, Montana, growing a diverse array of organic heirloom and specialty grain, pulse, oilseed and broadleaf crops under five- and seven-year rotations. 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, Real Organic Project Certified in 2019, and has been transitioning towards Demeter Biodynamic certification. Vilicus Farms offers the only structured organic grain farming apprenticeship in the US, with the vision of incubating new organic agricultural enterprises. They have hosted 13 apprentices, many interns, and more farm campers than can be counted.

Two new agrarian enterprises are currently under incubation at Vilicus Farms: a grazing operation integrated into the cropping system and an organic seed production operation. Vilicus Training Institute (VTI) launched in 2015 to inspire increased scope and scale of organic land management across the Northern Great Plains. VTI serves as a not-for-profit learning laboratory that cultivates collaborations enabling both new organic land stewards and the circumstances that support their prosperous stability. VTI is a founding board member of the Montana Agrarian Commons.

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 and Ranchers. She currently serves on the Xerces Society Bee Better Advisory Board and Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT’s Board of Directors. 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.

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