Farm name:

J and V Bays Farm


Near the small town of Wilsall in South Central Montana


John and Vanessa Bays work with their daughter Sadie, son-in-law Seth, and grandchildren Mike and Gwen

Generation/history of the family farm:

John and Vanessa come from a long line of farmers beginning with settlers in the early twentieth century. John and Vanessa have been farming on the dry slopes of the Crazy Mountains in the Shields Valley north of Yellowstone Park for the last forty years.

A general overview of your reasons to direct seed and your involvement with Shepherd’s Grain:

Time spent working with the local Soil Conservation Service and personal experiences with erosion in the fields prompted John and Vanessa to experiment with methods of sustainable agriculture. After more than twenty years of direct seeding, they have witnessed great improvements to the arid high prairie clay that they farm. They also have instilled a plan of crop rotation with flax, mustard, and peas that helps with weed and disease control.

Why do you feel a relationship with Shepherd’s Grain customers is important?

Both John and Vanessa had the opportunity as children to grow produce and sell to individuals and small businesses. Those memories came back to life when they grew fresh snap and snow peas together as a couple and sold to the local farmers’ market and food coop in the early 90’s. It is both important and exciting to have a relationship with consumer; few modern wheat farmers get to have that privilege. John and Vanessa are thrilled that Shepherd’s Grain has given them that opportunity. (Hello to the folks reading this by the way!) 

Thank you, Shepherd’s Grain, for choosing us to provide for your company.