Spring Coulee Farm is located a little over an hour from Glacier National Park. There’s a unique partnership between landowner and farmer with a common vision to improve soil life and wildlife habitat that is literally changing the landscape in Choteau, Montana.
12 years ago, Judy and Jeff Cornell purchased a piece of farmland that had been farmed fence to fence. Understanding that productivity is measured by more than yield, she decided to farm in a way that also supported the local habitat.
With the help of NRCS they planted thousands of trees along the side and in the 4 unproductive dry land corners of an irrigated plot which also provided tall dense nesting covers for local birds. With all this sweat equity in the land, she knew that she wanted to lease to a farmer but still wanted input into the farm process happening on her land.
A few farming arrangements worked out for a while, but none that shared her desire for mindful farming practices. Enter Sam Armstrong.
Last year, she and Sam, a fourth generation farmer in Choteau, took a risk and grew Black Butte Chickpea™️ seed for Timeless using no till methods. Judy recounts when Timeless grower liaison Jim Barngrover stepped foot on the field, he could feel the difference under his feet and the rhizomes on the chickpeas were better than any he had seen in 30 years. Her years of soil building efforts were paying off.
"It's pretty exciting the direction agriculture has to go in the future in order to survive," she hints at the evidence of her plot as a sign that less disturbance is more productive long term for the microbial life teeming below the surface. Which is in turn better for the plants overall.
Thank you, Judy and Sam, for taking risks and farming with intention!