Sweetland Farm is Hiring for an Assistant Farmer – Hay and Animals Job in Vermont
Sweetland Farm is a diversified family farm in Norwich, Vermont. Started in 2012 on conserved prime agricultural soils on the banks of the Ompompanoosuc River, Sweetland currently crops 5+ acres of sustainably grown vegetables, which supply a 150-member CSA. The rest of the 87 acres of farmland consists of actively managed hay fields, pastures for livestock, a young orchard, and perennial fruit and vegetable crops. In the course of the next few years on the land we will be growing our CSA business to 200+ members, bringing new land into production, expanding our hay-making capacity, managing an abutting woodland, and increasing our pastured meat production. Sweetland Farm is known for its high quality and bountiful vegetable CSA, healthy animals, thoughtful care of the land, and commitment to creating meaningful agrarian experiences for customers and employees. We aim to create a stimulating, interesting, and upbeat workplace for our farm team.
Assistant Farmer; Hay and Animals Job
We are seeking a highly motivated and responsible individual with significant animal care and square bale hay production experience to fill this upper level position and work closely with the head farmer to ensure the success of our farm business. Sweetland is a mid-sized diversified farm and every member of our crew is expected and encouraged to cross train to help support all of our farm enterprises (vegetables, meat production, hay, orchard, and woodlot), but the Hay and Animals Assistant Farmer will take a lead role on animal care, pasture management, chicken processing and hay production. Our seasonal meat enterprise currently consists of 400-500 meat chickens, 12-15 pigs and 30 lambs, and we are considering adding beef cows and/or other specialty meat animals in the future. We currently produce 2 cuts of square baled feed hay on roughly 100 acres, or approximately 4000 bales, and have the opportunity to expand our hay-able acreage. Our two Assistant Farmers are an essential part of the farm team and each should be prepared to think and work like a professional farmer; attention to detail, an efficient and strong work ethic, the ability to identify and carry out big-picture projects, the skills to operate and maintain a range of tractors and implements, an inquisitive nature about improved methods, and the capacity to operate with autonomy or effectively lead a small crew are essential attributes.
Hay and Animals Job Details and Responsibilities
The successful candidate for the Assistant Farmer; Hay and Animals Job is responsible for a working knowledge and supervisory/lead role of the following:
Tractor work, including equipment hookup, adjustment and use of haying-related implements (mower conditioner, tedder, hay rake, baler, brush hog, fertilizer spreader) and animal-related implements (loader/forks, brush hog, chisel plow, disc harrow, weed whacker)
Animal care, including portable electric fence setup and trouble shooting, maintaining permanent fences, feeding/watering, monitoring for health, and administering medicine or basic vet care as needed
Chicken slaughter/processing (once a month on farm June-October, roughly 130 birds/batch)
Fertility analysis and implementation of nutrient management plan on hay fields and pastures (includes use/application of organic fertilizers, compost/manure, and frost-seeded pasture mix)
Training, overseeing and motivating part-time field crew for hay and animal production-related work
Applicants for the Hay and Animals Job must have familiarity with a range of meat and hay production systems as well as plant and animal physiology. Minimum 2 years experience of tractor driving and implement use, especially square bale haying equipment. Proficiency in basic mechanical and carpentry skills. Crew leading experience. Strong communication and interpersonal skills. Must be able to lift 50 pounds and drive a manual transmission. The successful candidate will embrace the varied and intense work of a start-up farm, have an insurmountably positive attitude, communicate well with a small, close-knit team, work closely with the head farmer, and be able to manage production pressure and crew dynamics during the height of the growing season.
Remuneration & Schedule
This is a full time (40+ hours per week, plus shared weekend coverage) position. Commitment from April through October required at a minimum, with possibility for part-time season extension. Starting hourly wage ranges from $11-15/hour, depending on skills and experience. Affordable on-farm housing in our beautiful new timber-frame farm labor house is available. We are hiring for the 2016 growing season, but for the right person this could be a long-term position.
If you think Sweetland Farm is a good match for you and you would like to apply to be part of our team, please type answers to the following questions and email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will contact you to set up an on-farm interview if we think you will be a good fit with our farm.
Please tell us about yourself, your interests, and your long-range plans
Previous related work experience, including specifics on tractor experience and vegetable production experience
Any special considerations we should know about (e.g. health, schedule, etc)
Please include a resume and provide 2 references we can contact regarding your work experience.