How skeet shooting and cow cuddling could help the family farm

A Somers family is looking to diversify by growing organically, and offering skeet shooting on their farm.

A field is readied for the season and a target set up on a family farm near Somers. The family is looking to diversify by growing organically, and offering skeet or trap shooting.

Flathead Valley farmer Lori Moran is now raising her family on the same farm she grew up on.

“My dad actually moved here when he was 4, I believe, and then, of course with my grandparents. He then purchased the farm from my grandparents after high school,” Moran said.

The Moran’s 800-acre property in the Lower Valley area near Somers used to have an apple orchard and her father grew hay, different grains, and even peppermint over the years.

Moran said she can’t make a living farming the same way her family did with lower crop prices, and fewer government farm subsidies.

“It’s really hard to make a living at it, where it was a much more lucrative business for my parents. And I know a lot of people are struggling with that,” Moran said.

The Morans recently completed a Multifunctional Agriculture course taught by Maarten Fischer at the Flathead Valley Community College. Fischer comes from the Netherlands where he worked to establish several cooperatives of farms with different focuses. He said in the Netherlands there are more than 100 farms hosting farmers golf which involves a clog on a stick, a big ball, and a cow field. He said some farms offer “cow cuddling,” a type of therapy offered at care farms as described in this blog post. Fischer said the class was about creating a business plan for a farm using some outside-of-the-box farming ideas.

“What we really worked on was having people do kind of an analysis of themselves; what do I want and what is my business now, and why do I do what I’m doing, and what would I like to be doing,” Fischer said.

For the Moran’s, Lori said they have an interest in shooting sports and are looking into offering skeet or trap shooting, and they have a desire to grow organically.

“Our little one has some food allergies and sensitivities to some of the chemicals. So, we really need to make sure, especially what’s around our house here, that we’re trying to keep it as chemical free as we can,” Moran said.

The Moran’s are growing organic alfalfa and hay, and looking into offering skeet or trap shooting. Moran said they also have a wedding booked on their property

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