Organics meets Technology: Rabou Farms

 

October 12, 2017

Amy Votruba

three organic grain bins with red winter wheat.

Organic farming is a big and time consuming business as the Rabou can attest to. The Rabou family came to the Cheyenne area in 1876 and spread out through the area by homesteading, around 1905 in the Albin area. Ron Rabou comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. He is a 5th generation farmers and strives to grow a product that is safe to eat. However the organic process is quite extensive with the paper trail being long and tedious. Elevator and scales are required separate storage, due to the certification, has to be separate from the more traditional type of harvested products. The accounting includes from where the seed originated to the finished product, and the farm has to go through two certifications each year, as well as the equipment has to be certified clean. They also do all their own maintenance of the equipment. On a typical day Rabou travels around 100 miles a day inspecting his fields. Farming has met the technology stage as well, Rabou can now log into a program on his phone or computer to see how much rain each field has had, heat units, what is planted, how much was harvested, organic testing and the paper trail for each field. Maps on the computer pulls up an overview of the fields, this is provided by entering information on a tablet each time. Rabou believes the organic farming is driven by society. Certified organic is not a "mom and pop" operation anymore.


Rabou's present farm sits on the original homestead of his great grandparents, which he is very proud of. He has been able to purchase and sell land to be able to produce what he produces.

Rabou Farms produce proso millet, chick peas, green lentils, garbanzo beans and hard red winter wheat; with this year being the first year for garbanzo beans on approximately 8000 acres some is land that is owned and some is land that is leased. The farming is spread out and includes land around Albin, Chugwater, and Nebraska. Mr. Rabou plants according to what is in demand. Rabou is not afraid to try growing a product if he is asked. They employ part time employees during the season of March – September.

Mr. Rabou is not only a farmer; but has a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture, is a motivational speaker, an outfitter and published author. Rabou is a businessman which took him about 3 years to realize, to be successful, he had to look at the farm; as a business. Because face it no one can live on a minimal wage. The young Rabou children, are ambitious as well. Carson Rabou is a drummer of the "Children At Play" band that plays with other Pine Bluffs students. Spencer Rabou has his own garden and raises about 40 birds and sells the organic feed eggs. Along with his brothers, Carson and Mason, tend to pigs.


Rabou has many repeat hunters that visit during the hunting season. The farm has gone to great lengths to accommodate them by providing a bunk house as well as a full processing set up.

This is a family operated business with strong family values and the Rabou feels blessed.

 

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