Meet the Clark Family
Younger generations, especially women, are driving the new mindful consumer attitude, and that perspective is well-represented in Carter, Montana.
“My family tree is more like a shrub,” joked Debra Clark. An only child, she and her husband, Wayne, took over the family farm from her mother and father, Pat & Bob, and the female farmer lineage continues as their 16-year-old identical twins, Megan and McKenzie, work the land alongside their parents.
The Clarks are part of a multi-generational farm family in the Carter area. Debra grew up in a house just up the hill from the current home she shares with Wayne and the twins. Bob still lives there, but recently stepped away from day-to-day farming to focus on long-awaited projects in his beloved shop. “I left things in good hands,” Bob said with the same wry smile as his daughter. “Besides, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do in the shop.”
We met the Clarks on a hot and sunny July day, in the midst of the winter wheat harvest. Wayne and Debra, married for 20 years, were joined by Kody, the family dog, while we waited for the twins to complete a round of threshing.
When asked about how things have changed with farming, Wayne commented on the amazing advances in technology that are improving land management and reducing inputs.
“The use of GPS has changed the game,” Wayne explained. “High-tech equipment reads the soil so we know precisely what it needs to optimize crops, which means lower usage of fertilizer and fuel.”
The twins are also committed to the future of farming, and making stronger connections between consumers and where food is grown.
As the combine she was driving slowed to a halt, Megan hopped out to join the conversation. When asked about the growing farm-to-table movement, she commented, “I think it’s a good thing. People should know where their food comes from.”
Asked if they are unique in being young female farmers, McKenzie looked up from her task of monitoring the wheat being loaded into a truck, “Lots of girls are farming now, even the town girls are driving tractors and combines.” Through the Clark family, the connection between farmer and consumer is closer than ever.