Farm Apprenticeships on Rotational Grazing Farm in Virginia
Weathertop Farm is a small 65-acre family-owned and operated farm located in scenic Floyd County, VA. We are dedicated to holistic sustainable agriculture through multi-species rotational grazing and intensive management. No antibiotics or hormones are used, and all livestock eat from pasture that is free of pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers. Our diverse business includes raising and selling pastured chickens, eggs, pigs, turkeys, ducks, rabbits and lamb.
Weathertop Farm accepts 1 or 2 apprentices each year for the duration of our May – November season. We’re looking for folks interested and passionate about preserving sustainable agriculture systems within our local food-shed communities. Apprentices must be ready to work hard doing manual labor in all kinds of weather. We expect apprentices to put in approximately 40 hours a week on average, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the farm schedule. You can expect to work alongside the farmer for some tasks, and independently for others.
What we expect of you:
no previous farming experience necessary, but these are qualities we’re looking for:
-a positive attitude
-willingness to try new things
-enthusiasm & flexibility
-cooperation for working with others
-ability to follow directions
-ability to do manual labor
-good people-person, comfortable in a sales setting interacting with customers.
-no smoking, no drugs
-not being distracted by personal technology (cell phone, etc) during the workday.
-We give preference to someone who can commit to the whole season from May-Nov.
-no local public transportation available, so having your own vehicle is a plus, though not required.
Work will include but is not limited to:
Daily care of animals
Collecting & cleaning eggs
Lots of portable-fence moving
Daily pasture-pen moving
Handling animal feed in 50-lb sacks on a daily basis
On-farm poultry processing (several days a month)
What you can expect from us:
To learn about the nitty-gritty details of raising animals first-hand, and what the daily work is like on a farm as well as the bigger picture of how we plan for the year and how a pasture-based system operates. You can expect a lot of time from us for conversations about farming and related issues, and ample opportunity to ask whatever questions you have. Through this experience you can gain an understanding of the daily ups and downs and ins and outs of a farming season, and because of the diverse range of tasks we require help with (from raising animals to butchering to sales & marketing) we hope you would gain an understanding of how the diverse multi-species grazing operation of our farm is integrated into one business and functions as a whole. When possible we will do our best to cater to individual preference and teach you more about whatever interests you the most.
Very old rustic farmhouse, furnished with basic amenities. House has some electricity and basic bath & kitchen facilities, including composting toilet and outdoor shower. You may use the laundry & internet at the main farmhouse.
Meals: We welcome apprentices to join us for lunch daily, and sometimes for dinner, too, other meals you will be responsible for yourself. You will have access to food that is grown on the farm.
Day(s) off: all Sundays off, some afternoons, a couple vacation days can be worked into the schedule.
Opportunities for education
-Access to our farm books along with some recommended reading assignments.
-Opportunity to learn poultry processing as well as marketing and sales
-Chances to visit with other farms and alternative food systems in Floyd
-Possible occasional workshops in the area
Opportunities for recreation & entertainment
-Meet other apprentices in Floyd to socialize & network with them
-The nearby town of Floyd has a great food, music & arts scene
-Proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway offers lots of options for hiking & camping
-Nearby Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech, is a great college town with lots going on
-Please read through all relevant information and find the application on our website: http://www.weathertopfarm.com/apprenticeship
-In addition to the written application, we will require an in-person visit, (which could be an overnight or weekend stay if needed).
-If interested in the rotational grazing farm apprenticeship please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.