We wanted to give you an opportunity to learn more about us, and the people that have helped us make this farm what it is today. Here, you can find out a little more info on the crew; what they do, where they've been, and what led them to Vilicus Farms.
Doug has always been a farmer. He grew up on a large-scale grain farm in Ohio that didn’t survive the farm crisis of the 1980s. Giving up a full ride engineering scholarship after one semester at Purdue he followed his true passion and transferred to the Agricultural Economics Program. While completing his degree, he managed a crop farm in Indiana. He worked as a professional Farm Manager and Agriculture Systems Researcher in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska. After completing his Masters program, he spent two years building a sustainably constructed home with his wife, Anna, while also working as an organic inspector. From 2001 until 2012 he served as the Organic Program Manager for the Montana Department of Agriculture. Doug holds a B.S. in Agricultural Economics / Farm Management from Purdue University and a M.S. in Plant Science/Agronomy from South Dakota State University.
Anna grew up in rural Colorado and Washington State. She spent several summers in Indiana visiting relatives and playing hide and seek in cornfields. She is an innovator who has championed sustainability throughout her 26+ year Federal career and her personal life. Her work has saved millions of BTU’s dollars. She routinely cultivates key pilot projects, and pioneers new approaches to supporting the place-based work of local sustainability champions. She’s fostered a national sustainable operations effort for the US Forest Service serving as the first Regional Sustainable Operations Coordinator and as the National Sustainable Operations Director—positions she created. She holds a B.S. in Construction Engineering and Management and an M.S. in Civil Engineering, Construction Emphasis from Purdue University. Her Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a Sustainable Systems minor is from Georgia Institute of Technology. Anna is a registered professional engineer and an early accredited US Green building Professional.
Paul Neubauer is a young agrarian and first-generation farmer and rancher. Growing up in Buffalo, NY Paul did not get first-hand exposure to agriculture until after graduating high school when he worked on his uncle’s ranch in Tennessee. He was immediately attracted to raising livestock as well as agriculture in general, and was able to build on those interests while attending Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. While pursuing a degree in History, Paul worked on the school farm, learning about land management and animal husbandry, as well as equipment operation while raising crops and livestock for the students of Warren Wilson. After graduating from college, Paul apprenticed at the San Juan Ranch in Saguache, Colorado through Quivira’s New Agrarian Program. He spent two years working in the high and dry San Luis valley, continuing to grow his skillset in animal and land management. After his time as an apprentice, he continued to work in Colorado for a local rancher, managing a herd of cattle in nearby Gunnison.
Paul is the Farm Foreman at Vilicus farms, and manages the day to day operations of the farm as well as managing his own cattle enterprise, P/N Ranch. He is committed to working at the intersection of crops, livestock, land health and people. Paul is certain we are not doing enough as a society to address climate change, the deeply unhealthy food system, massive and unsustainable inequality of the gender, racial, religious and economic kinds and the lack of livestock on U.S. cropland. His work as a foreman and mentor at Vilicus Farms, as well as his time as an apprentice in the NAP program have been in an effort to live closely to the land and pursue remedies to the aforementioned societal ills. Paul’s relationships with his agricultural mentors has been the essential catalyst for his joy in the work of growing food, and his small successes thus far. Inspired by his own experience as a mentee, Paul is dedicated to providing education, mentorship and his friendship to other beginning farmers and ranchers.
Paul’s work with land, animals, food and people also extends past the farm gate as he is the president of the Cottonwood Local of Montana Farmers Union. Paul has represented the Montana Farmers Union at the National Farmers Union Convention, and works hard to help create and shape policies that will improve the health of the land and the livelihoods of those who manage it.
Jim grew up on a farm in Montana, and has been farming on the “Hi-Line” (the colloquial name for the region across the north of Montana) for most of his adult life. While working on his father’s farm south of Gildford, MT Jim learned a love and passion for farming and equipment that continues to this day. Most of Jim’s time farming was within the so-called “conventional” style of agriculture, but over time Jim came to appreciate the importance of healthy food and landscapes, and is passionate about farming organically. Jim currently supports Vilicus Farm as a skilled equipment operator, as well as maintenance man, mechanic, and trucker. Jim is a born problem solver, and can quickly turn resources into resolutions, all while maintaining a positive and encouraging attitude. He brings his passion for problem solving, healthy food, and warm companionship to the team as well as a deep understanding of the landscape and history that only an individual who has spent their life in a place can grasp. In addition to working for Vilicus Farms, Jim also manages his family land south of nearby Gildford and Hingham, and recently obtained organic certification for the first time.
Benjamin grew up in southeastern Massachusetts, and is a first generation farmer. He has worked at a variety of operations, first getting a taste for farming as a field hand at a diversified vegetable and mixed livestock farm in his hometown of Bridgewater, MA. Since then he has worked at organic vegetable farms, managed his own small scale greenhouse operation, and worked at a raw milk dairy and a mixed livestock farm before turning his attention to working with grains. Benjamin completed the apprenticeship program here at Vilicus Farms, by applying as a New Agrarian Program apprentice. After his first year here, Benjamin was excited to continue working for the farm as a long-term employee, and currently fills the role of Maintenance, Technology and Logistics specialist. He is currently working on building himself a solar powered, off-grid Tiny Home to live in out here on the prairie. He is passionate about working in agriculture in order to mitigate the effects of climate change, restore health to our landscapes, as well as improve the health of our communities and bodies. His role here on the farm covers everything from fixing flat tires, changing slip clutches on combines, to managing our social media presence and website, and helping organize the daily work flow of the farm team.