By Amy Pearson
Charley Overbay says his ten-year-old son Davy had a rough first go at farming when the grasshoppers destroyed his squash two summers ago. They are hopeful that the cold, wet spring in the Golden Triangle this season will create better conditions for the soil and worse ones for the insects.
After finishing a degree in agronomy at BYU-Idaho, Charley and his wife Stephanie moved to Big Sandy where he managed produce at the Quinn Farm and Ranch. Following four seasons of mentorship with Bob Quinn, Charley founded C & S Produce.
They leased land from Bob and began growing produce for customers themselves.
They mainly grow corn, potatoes, winter squash, and pumpkins. Charley says he is incredibly grateful for their partnership with Dave Christensen of Big Timber who developed and markets the Painted Mountain Corn they grow.
One of the most important lessons Charley has learned farming on the prairie of Montana is knowing the difference between cool and warm season crops.
“You don’t have to wait until Memorial Day to plant your garden,” he says. “There are many cool season crops you can plant mid-March or early April.”
Charley also recommends learning the soil health principles provided by the NRCS (nrcs.usda.gov/conservation- basics/natural-resource-concerns/soils/soil-health), and he notes that like humans, healthy plants are more resistant to infectious diseases.
As Stephanie nears the completion of her master’s in education, their three kids Davy, Kiki and Elliot get the run of the place much like Charley did growing up on their farm in Colorado, and his dad before that in Kansas.