The last thing you might think about eating is a cricket but Kathy and James Rolin of Cowboy Cricket Farms intend on changing that. Founded in 2016, Cowboy Cricket Farms is a commercial cricket operation that produces flour from their cricket livestock. The livestock is 2,060 times more efficient with water, 14 times more efficient with feed, and create 80 times less methane than cattle. In a state known for cattle farming, the Rolins and their farm are finding some early success and emerging as a leader in the relatively new and fast growing US edible insect sector.
SCORE mentor Rick Sanders has helped the Rolins find direction within their niche market. The Rolins credit Rick with helping to formulate the idea of giving tours at the farm which eventually led to several retailers and new outlets hearing about the operation. With an increase of attention, Cowboy Crickets began to win several awards, were awarded grants and have since seen an increase in sales.
SCORE, and Rick in particular, gave direction to our business when we didn't really know what to do with it. Because of Rick we started giving farm tours which lead to several retailers and news outlets learning about us. This snowballed into several awards, grants, and increased sales. Rick has also given us a sounding board. Someone that we can talk to and receive honest feedback from. He has a great perspective on our business because he sees it from the outside. Often times our judgement is cloudy because we are so involved, but by having a SCORE mentor on our side we are able to be shown the big picture and refocus on what is important.
Cowboy Cricket Farms has taken what is historically a foreign concept to most Americans and are beginning to find some main stream success. With the help of research grants from the State of Montana, the team has successfully developed a process to harvest a "Super Cricket" that has more nutritional properties than that of a common house cricket. Cowboy Crickets has begun to expand their retail network outside of Montana and are bringing on partner farms to help keep up with demand. In the coming year they will be pursing the development of an automated system that will help develop more cricket farms at scale.
Rick has also proven to be a sturdy sounding board for the the business. As an outside perspective he’s been able to help the Rolins see the bigger picture and refocus on the important details when they find themselves at an impasse.