Dairy Goat Job in North Carolina

Prodigal Farm is an Animal Welfare Approved farmstead goat cheese dairy in northern Durham County.  We’re looking for a new member of our team.  We are unique in rotationally grazing our dairy goat herd, which is on pasture at all times and never confined;  their shelter moves with them.  We know our 178 goats as individuals, and are devoted to their well-being.  We expect that you will become a key part of that effort.

This position is largely outdoors, except for milking.  Every week, portable electric fencing must be set up and taken down to move three groups of goats.  As the weather cools, we’ll be working on infrastructure projects: installing permanent fencing, milling lumber, repairing farm buildings, trimming hooves, giving vaccinations, mucking shelters.   The work requires you to be physically fit, both in the ability to walk a lot, and to lift 50 pounds (feed bags, bales of straw) repeatedly.  You’ll need to be attentive to details of many kinds:  is that goat acting differently today than it does usually?  Is that doe looking like she might kid today?  Was the electricity for the fence turned back on?  Have you followed the proper cleaning steps, each and every time, in the milking room?  We expect you to have good follow-through in completing tasks, and to communicate with us to ensure that we take “next steps” as necessary based what’s happened on your watch.  We have early shifts (starting at 7 a.m., occasionally earlier if weather requires) and late shifts (ending at 8 p.m.), and you may be doing some of each.

We have a live-in spot available, with food and a stipend, or we can pay hourly.  We expect 40 hours a week, occasionally a bit more (with additional pay) in busy times.  We are growing rapidly, and it’s a great opportunity to observe the many issues that a growing value-added farm-based business must confront.  We look for congenial, conscientious people who will work well with others, and join our quest to be the best “in our field”.    We don’t expect you to have past dairy experience, though some farm experience is useful, and, as mentioned earlier, good physical fitness is essential.  Bonus points if you aren’t allergic to poison ivy.  Oh, and you get to eat/take home some rather tasty cheese, cheesecake, bread and meat, and sometimes you’re asked to be a guinea pig for new recipes.

4 Comments on Dairy Goat Job in North Carolina

  1. Angela Rothweiler // September 12, 2011 at 3:14 pm // Reply

    We are a family of three wanting to move off our homestead in Kansas to run a farm/ranch full-time. Our ideal situation would be an already established organic farm where the owner is looking to retire and will provide mentoring.

    We are college educated, been gardening all our lives, and ready to make the move to a longer growing season. We are open to do a direct purchase, crop share, co-own and operate etc. We are energetic, highly motivated self-starters with extensive know-how and experience with organic/biodynamic/sustainable/permaculture techniques, growing and marketing, dairy/meat goats, sheep, equine, and poultry and basic maintenance to manage a farm.

    Please feel free to contact us with any possible matches in any part of the world and for more detailed information, resume, and interview.

    We are seeking assistance through farmlinking programs in California, Oregon, Washington, and Virginia. I have included below California Farmlink’s Mission Statement so that you may better understand our goal.
    California FarmLink’s Mission
    Our mission is to build family farming and conserve farmland in California by linking aspiring and retiring farmers; and promoting techniques and disseminating information that facilitate intergenerational farm transitions.
    California agricultural land is being developed at ever increasing rates. Meanwhile, California farmers age 65 and over outnumber farmers under the age of 25 by approximately 60 to one. Aspiring farmers face numerous obstacles to achieving their dreams. These include a lack of information about financing options and other resources crucial to their success. Retiring farmers lack information about proven, innovative ways to keep land in agricultural production while simultaneously meeting financial goals related to retirement and estate planning.

    The number of California farmers under the age of 35 declined 43% between 1992 and 2002. California FarmLink works to reverse this trend and ensure the future of family farming in California.
    The future of agricultural production and the viability of productive, diversified, and sustainable farms is far too important to be left to a random process of “marry or inherit”. California FarmLink provides a range of services to facilitate a transition from one farm owner to the next.
    Thank you,

    • Angela, I will certainly keep you in mind. You’re absolutely right, the FarmLink programs are important, but they are just a small step. And California’s is probably the strongest and most effective one. We don’t even really have an active FarmLink program in Michigan. Keep checking the jobs page because sometimes opportunities come up there. You should also look at http://www.beginningfarmers.org/finding-land-to-farm/ if you haven’t yet. Keep in touch.

  2. Has this position been filled yet? If not how do I apply? Thanks

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.