Ranch Apprenticeship in Montana

ranch apprenticeship

Barthelmess Ranch Apprenticeship in Montana, 2017

25826 Content Road – Malta, MT   59538

Application Deadline:  April 15, 2017

Position Offered:  1 full time, seasonal, entry-level

Time Frame:  Start May 1 – May 15; End August 15 – August 31


Barthelmess Ranch Corporation is a multi-generational family ranch running on mostly native prairie grasslands in northcentral Montana.  We graze cattle and sheep, produce our own hay, harvest native seed, and work with our neighbors to promote rancher stewardship and community vitality.  The ranch blends traditional practices with strategic innovations and appropriate technology.  A past NCBA Environmental Stewardship Award winner, our ranch uses rotational, multi-species grazing to enhance land health, biodiversity, and livestock production.


The Barthelmess Ranch Apprentice will carry much of the day-to-day responsibility for care of our 1,000+ ewe flock of fine-wool sheep.  Beginning with lambing in May, the Apprentice will help herd and manage the main flock.  Part of the summer may include on-the-ground implementation of a targeted grazing project to control leafy spurge using our yearling ewes on public lands distant from our ranch headquarters.  The vast majority of the apprenticeship will be work, but there will also be significant learning opportunities to provide a solid foundation for a person planning a career in sustainable ranching.


This is a full time, seasonal ranch job, with some long days especially during lambing.  Hours of work depend in large part on the needs of the livestock.  Expect to work in all kinds of weather, occasionally at night, sometimes working a week straight before getting a day off.  Tasks vary from day-to-day, including but not limited to the activities of:

  • Lambing, docking, and herding range sheep
  • Operating equipment that may include four wheelers, ranch pickups, haying equipment, and skid steer
  • Feeding and management of livestock guardian dogs which protect the livestock
  • Cattle management, such as moving cattle in rotational grazing systems, monitoring range and water conditions for cattle and wildlife, distributing salt and mineral
  • Practical management of barbed, electric, and high-tensile fencing


  • At least 18 years of age
  • Valid driver license and good driving record
  • Strong work ethic, both alone and as part of a team
  • Willing and capable of demanding physical work, including the ability to lift 75 pounds, walk up to 3 miles daily, and work outside in inclement weather
  • Able to thrive in remote settings with quite limited human interaction, either face-to-face or via technology
  • The successful candidate will have an eagerness to learn; respect for the land, livestock, and our rural community; good sense and problem-solving ability; commitment to excellence; and strong integrity. We can and will teach skills necessary to become a successful shepherd and steward of the land, but we require the Apprentice to arrive here with the good character necessary to flourish as part of our close-knit ranch team.


This entry-level position will be receive compensation of:

  • Salary dependent upon experience
  • On-ranch housing, room and board
  • Internet access while at ranch headquarters
  • On-the-job training in practical management of sheep; animal husbandry; rangeland shepherding; fence construction and repair; low-stress stockmanship; stockdog handling; and rangeland photo monitoring


Email a letter of interest, along with your resume and contact information for two work-related references, to Eric Barthelmess at clancy4747@gmail.com.  Please include your goal(s) in applying for this apprenticeship; your qualifications for the job; the dates of your availability to work; and your contact information.  Application deadline April 15, 2017.

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