John and Russ Vollmer, Vollmer Farm


Russ Vollmer (left) and father John Vollmer of Vollmer Farm. Photo by Brandon Yow.

Russ Vollmer (left) and father John Vollmer of Vollmer Farm. Photo by Brandon Yow.

As you may have noticed throughout our 30 Days of Thanks, we are truly inspired by farmers who have sustained the family business for generations. It takes a lot of faith to do so, especially when farming organically and naturally.

Father-son farming team John and Russ Vollmer are no strangers to this challenge.

“That’s our goal. My wife and I would like to see this farm remain a family farm into several generations,” says John. “The mindset of my son and his family is the same. There’s potential for it to go on. It takes an enterprise out here, otherwise the farm becomes a burden to generations who don’t live and work here.”

The Vollmers have been key collaborators in our work with specialty crop insurance.

“Agriculture is not standing still,” says Russ. “We’re trying to figure out how to stay in business. It’s constantly moving, constantly changing.”

As traditional commodity crops become less popular among farmers, current risk management policy has been slow to change to meet the needs of organic production. And this poses an incredible risk for specialty crop farmers.

John and Russ, third- and fourth-generation farmers respectively, are trying to protect what they carefully, responsibly and organically grow. Most notably, Vollmer Farm grows organic strawberries, an increasingly popular crop among consumers that can make farmers good money. But not if a natural disaster were to wipe out the entire crop.

As John mentions in the below video, they don’t want to “hop the farm” to pay out.

The Vollmers have been instrumental in pushing for change in policy as advisors to our work, and by sharing their story with fellow farmers.

We appreciate the Vollmers and want to thank them for their incredible commitment to family farming–all five generations!

To nominate your favorite farmer or food hero for RAFI’s 30 Days of Thanks, click here.

Follow along every day at rafiusa.org/30daysofthanks