Market Garden and Livestock Apprenticeship Program

heifer international training program Overlook Farm, Rutland, Ma, USA Elizabeth Chadwick feed the chickens on Wednesday September 9, 2009 at Overlook Farm in Rutland, Ma.

Market Garden and Livestock Apprenticeship Program at Heifer Farm in Massachusetts or Heifer Ranch in Arkansas – 2018

HEIFER INTERNATIONAL is a nonprofit humanitarian organization working to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. Heifer USA works with small-scale farmers to transform their communities. We offer an intensive multi-year Market Garden and Livestock Apprenticeship Program at Heifer Farm in Rutland, Massachusetts, and Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas. The apprentices will work directly with Heifer USA agriculture experts and technical assistants. Upon successful completion of the program, apprentices will have a broad range of understanding of many aspects of farming.

Market Garden and Livestock Apprenticeship Program Skill Development and Responsibilities (including, but not limited to):

Market Garden Apprentice

  • Daily farm chores
  • Production planning, marketing & sales
  • Soil care & management
  • Seeding & transplanting
  • Season extension
  • Weed & pest management
  • Tools, equipment, and safety
  • Cold chain, harvest, post-harvest & distribution
  • Office skills & financial management
  • Production techniques: mulching, irrigation, etc.

Livestock Apprentice

  • Daily farm chores
  • Livestock management and husbandry skills
  • Value-added products
  • Production management: poultry, cattle, sheep, hog, and dairy goats
  • Farm mechanics: tools, tractor and trailer safety and operation
  • Production planning, marketing & sales
  • Animal housing and fencing
  • Office skills and financial management
  • Grazing management and techniques

Program Overview:

YEAR ONE – Apprentices will live on-site and be mentored by agricultural personnel.

  • Comprehensive hands-on technical trainings in conservation agricultural practices, and production management;
  • Classroom sessions including enterprise planning, conservation agricultural practices, and production management;
  • Technical trainings are complemented with relevant classroom sessions on business planning, record keeping, marketing and relevant legal topics:

✓    Introduction to business planning and record keeping;

✓    Introduction to marketing and market analysis;

✓    Introduction to USDA Support;

✓    Introduction to Farm Legal Issues.

✓    Business plan required to move to Year Two;

YEAR TWO – Apprentices will live on-site and have management responsibilities of an established agricultural enterprise.

  • Comprehensive hands-on technical trainings in conservation agricultural practices and production management;
  • Classroom sessions including enterprise planning, conservation agricultural practices and production management;
  • Ability to deliver more advanced agricultural presentations;
  • Technical trainings are complemented with relevant classroom sessions on business planning, record keeping, marketing and relevant topics:

✓    Whole Farm Plan utilized and updated, continued support from technical assistance providers;

✓    Farm structure identified in business plan, food safety plan developed as apprentice transitions to own land;

✓    Compliance and management of USDA programs;

✓    Business plan including marketing plan required to move to Year Three.

YEAR THREE – Apprentices establish or strengthen their own farm enterprises.

  • Apprentices receive ongoing mentorship from established farmers and Heifer staff
  • Regular check-in’s on enterprise plans and cash flow analysis
  • Continuing education opportunities

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Commitment: One-year initial commitment required for a mid-January arrival. In order to maximize effectiveness of the educational experience, we have developed a 3-year program. The learning objectives & skill development will not be accomplished until completion of the third year. Successful completion of each year is a prerequisite to continue to the next. 

Schedule: Apprentices should expect to work between 40-55 hours per week with two days off per week. Frequent weekend and evening work is necessary.

Benefits  Apprentices will be provided a stipend of ~$600 per month. On-site housing provided, if desired; at Heifer’s discretion, vehicles can be available for local transportation; potential for profit sharing in Year Two.

Selection Criteria and Skills Needed:

Heifer USA is proud to use sustainable agriculture and food system work as tools for promoting social justice.  We are intentionally inclusive of limited resource and socially disadvantaged communities and individuals.

  • Passion! Applicant wants to pursue a career in farming
  • Self-driven – applicant does not need to be micromanaged
  • Thrives in a diverse environment
  • Whatever it takes to get the job done!
  • Willingness to work outdoors during inclement weather
  • Willingness to participate in all aspects of production
  • Willingness & ability to share housing, including housekeeping chores

Requirements: Minimum age of 18 years old at start of service period, complete required training, and follow all policies & procedures. Must pass a background check.

Market Garden and Livestock Apprenticeship Program Locations:

Heifer Farm                                         Heifer Ranch

216 Wachusett Street                         55 Heifer Road

Rutland, MA 01543                             Perryville, AR 72126

Phone: 508-886-5000                         Phone: 501-889-5124

www.heifer.org/farm                         www.heifer.org/ranch

To Apply for the Market Garden and Livestock Apprentice Programs: To learn more and apply visit Heifer USA Apprenticeship Programs.  For more information contact us at heiferusa@heifer.org or 1-855-3HEIFER (Press 4).  Application deadline October 20 or until positions are filled.  Applications can be submitted by mailing, faxing, emailing or dropping it off in person.

Learn more about farm jobs and internships, as well as how to post your own job, internship, or apprenticeship on beginningfarmers.org at http://www.beginningfarmers.org/internship-and-employment-opportunities/

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