Joseph Fauque started farming part time while working as a pumper in the Kevin Sunburst oil field in 1941. Joe and his wife Mildred turned a part-time farm into a full-time farm after acquiring more land. Joe and Mildred had three children. Larry, a science teacher at North Toole County High School, is now retired and living in Great Falls with his wife Maria. A daughter, DaRae, is currently the manager at Ben Taylor Bulk in Sunburst. Their youngest son Randy took over the farm in 1970 when Joe died following a short fight with pancreatic cancer. I am Randy and will share a short history of our family farm.
I started my interest in agriculture when I raised cattle for my 4H projects. I purchased 20 head of calves to feed out when I was in the 8th grade. That turned out to be something I continued to do. The yearly purchases of calves increased to about 250 head a year. I farmed with my mother in a partnership, Fauque Farm and Ranch, until 1980 when she retired. Mildred is still living on the family farm and will be 92 years young this August.
In the fall of 1973, I met Diane Haar, a new single teacher in the Sunburst Grade School. We were married on July, 12th, 1975. Together we have raised three children on the farm: sons Korey and Jamey and daughter Darcy.
When my mother retired from the farming partnership, Diane and I formed the corporation Sundown Farms, Inc. and have continued with that operation for the last 32 years. We have bought land and rented some more to increase the size of the farm to its present acreage. We stopped raising cattle to concentrate on the grain portion of our operation in the late 1970s.
Over the years we primarily raised malt barley and spring wheat. We also tried several alternative crops with a variety of successes. The past several years we have raised only spring wheat. We raised Clearfield spring wheat during the last two years and were very happy with the results. We have chemical fallowed for many years.
Diane took several years off from teaching to raise our children and then resumed her teaching career when all of our kids were in school. Diane is currently the 7th grade teacher at Sunburst Elementary.
I went to work part time six years ago and became a licensed insurance agent for KW Insurance, a business (formerly Puckett Agency) owned by my son Korey and his wife Wendy. I also started the RT Rental business with Terry Alme, and now Korey and Wendy are part of this business as well. Diane and I also built a commercial business building on our property along the east frontage road south of Sunburst. This building is rented out to Ben Taylor Inc. for chemical sales and to KW Insurance.
As of 2012 Diane and I have retired from the farming business and have rented it out to Wendy Fauque. Diane and I are very happy to see the farm stay in the family and wish Wendy all the success in the world. We look forward to having a little more time to do some traveling and to spending time with the grand kids. I will continue to work for KW and Diane will continue to teach for the next several years. Farming has been very good to me and my family. It’s a wonderful way to raise a family!
Korey graduated from Northern Montana College and went to work at CHS in Cut Bank where he started the GPS marketing program at CHS and also became a crop consultant. Korey met his future wife Wendy while working at CHS, and they married in 2003. Korey had been working with Gordon Puckett learning the insurance business when Gordon passed away suddenly. He and Wendy then bought Puckett Insurance from Judy shortly after their wedding, and together they became KW Insurance. They sell Federal Crop, farm and personal lines insurance. They also own KW Deejay Service, RT Rentals, and KW AG, raising grass-feed beef. They have recently built a home near the insurance office outside of Sunburst.
Jamey graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Business Administration. Jamey is currently living and working in Columbus, Ohio. He is a Business Consultant with Centric Consulting Corporation. Jamey married an Ohio gal Brandi Lust who is a high school English teacher and they have two children.
Darcy graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Biology. She married Kelly Magalsky, a Circle, Montana native. Kelly is an engineer with Avista Energy in Spokane, WA, and they have three young children. They currently live in Cheney, outside of Spokane.