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Youth Builds Coffee Business to Save for Ranch

When you have a big dream, like owning your own ranch, you must be able to think outside of the box and be creative. That’s just what Summit Browning, a 21-year-old FFA alumni from Paradise Valley, is working to do. As the owner and operator of S Bar B Coffee, Browning is building a business to fund his dream of owning his own ranch. Browning said he didn’t grow up in agriculture, but opportunities through neighbors and being involved in the 4-H and FFA programs inspired him to become a rancher. “I started working at different ranches in the area when I was 12 and got involved in 4-H and that really sparked my passion for agriculture,” he said. “Since I don’t come from generational land, I started thinking about what career I could do so I could eventually have my own land. So, I decided to start my own business.” Browning tried several different business ventures before deciding to focus on roasting and selling his own unique brand of coffee that is now available in 63 stores throughout Montana. After these early attempts, Browning decided to try using a coffee roaster that his mom had bought for a home project to try and roast the perfect batch of coffee beans. “My mom had a roaster she had been trying out and she had roasted some beans on a small scale for my dad. I decided to try selling roasted coffee beans for a business and was able to bring the roaster to school where I could use it to experiment in a place that had ventilation,” he shared. By trying out 25 different kinds of coffee beans and giving away samples to teachers at the school, Browning was able to get valuable feedback about what kind of coffee people preferred. “I would give the coffee out to the teachers and ask for feedback,” he said. “At that point, I gave the coffee away because I didn’t feel right charging for it.” Once he found the perfect combination of beans and roast, Browning started by selling his coffee at the local hardware store. However, his roasting machine was small and inefficient, producing 10 bags of coffee took roughly 10 hours, so he decided to invest in an upgrade. “I bought a bigger roaster, and it took all the money I had been saving since I was 12,” he said. “But now I can roast 25 pounds of coffee in an hour.” The increased production has allowed Browning to get his coffee in over 60 stores in Montana, as well as selling it online via his website, “Initially, I wanted all the product to be from the U.S., but coffee beans from Hawaii are $42 a pound, which is too expensive for most customers. So, I found a fair trade, organic coffee bean supplier from the Dominican Republic,” he said. From each bag of coffee sold, Browning also donates a potation to support FFA and the Farm Bureau Organization. He said as he continues to run the coffee business and work part-time for other ranchers, he also aims to help his customers understand the importance of the ranching industry. “My end goal is to afford at least a small ranch to run some cattle on,” he said. “In the meantime, I want to be an advocate for agriculture and coffee sales have allowed me to reach some people who otherwise wouldn’t know about ag.”

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