New Agrarian Voices

Learn about the impressions and experiences of each year's cohort of apprentices in their own words.





Tyler Lu, APPRENTICE, Vilicus Farms, Montana

May 2022

I came to Vilicus Farms midway through April. The air was dry like California but the temperature was drastically colder. Since arriving at the Farm I have been blown away by the rolling hills and with the absence of any trees have felt much like being near an ocean. I even sometimes spot a segals here and there. I began my time at the farm at one of the busiest times and has provided me with ample opportunity to learn and ask questions. It has been exciting to learn about the team’s drive and commitment to organic crop productions and their other interests besides agriculture. 

I was not born into the agriculture sphere. I sought a career in agriculture after I began an apiarist apprenticeship in San Jose, CA. From this I discovered the wonders of working with livestock. Also, I discovered how livestock may work with you and for the land itself. I am particularly interested in food sovereignty and how the next generation of ranches and farmers may challenge norms and reinforce the need to diversify the landscapes, production models, and social inequalities within our agricultural systems currently. 

I hope to learn more about how farming at a large scale crop operation is like and the complexities involved. Furthermore, I want to dive into the intricacies of how Vilicus Farm is beginning to introduce livestock grazing back into their cropping system. My long-term goal is to own or operate a midscale dryland crop and cattle operation that revolves around BIPOC ranchers and farmers. The enterprise I envision is one that does not fully separate itself from non-production fields, in a sense blurring the line between a wild area and working/production area. To that effect, I want to learn more about how farming and ranching may merge what is forested wilderness into what is actively worked on. After serving a year with AmeriCorps, I want to take the leap into furthering my understanding of mid to large scale farming operations. My personal goals are never ending; I am always seeking ways to enhance my understanding of how to plan and implement grazing and record keeping, but I am searching for a more tangible outlet to work through these thoughts and plans. In the coming years, I hope to challenge myself and ask more questions so that I may continue to learn and grow in my journey to become a future rancher.

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