Robert Boettcher, a Big Sandy farmer for 33 years, has received a National Soil and Water Conservation Society honors award for promoting the wise use of Montana's natural resources.
To increase soil health and eliminate the use of chemicals, Boettcher has converted the family farm from a conventional wheat/fallow operation to a completely organic certification in 1992. He has seeded more than 15 diverse organic crops on his acreage, from alfalfa and winter wheat to sunflowers, cow-cockle, spelt, and buckwheat to fill niche markets and discover what will grow in the arid climate of north- central Montana.
Boettcher has been sharing his knowledge of sustainable agriculture across the globe. He traveled to Taiwan as a delegate for the Western United States Trade Association to promote Montana organic farm products. In addition, he has hosted groups of international agriculturists from Taiwan and Canada at his farm, and has presented an organic workshop to a delegation of Chinese visitors.
ROB-AN Farms was recently featured in a bulletin from the Sustainable Agriculture Network in an article called "Naturalize Your Farming System, A Whole-Farm Approach to Managing Pests."
Boettcher is an associate supervisor for the Big Sandy Conservation District, a member of the Natural Resourcd Conservation Service State Technical Committee, a member of the National Farmers Organization, Alternative Energy Resource Organization, and the Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, and is currently serving as the treasurer of the Organic Crop Improvement Association.
Boettcher was nominated by the Montana Chapter of SWCS for his assistance in organizing and hosting the 2001 Sustainable Agriculture tour.
He will be given the National SWCS honors award at the national SWCS meeting in Indianapolis on July 17.