Farm Manager Job – Position Available Immediately in Massachusetts, 2013

Cricket Creek Farm Manager Job – Position Available Immediately in Massachusetts, 2013 Cricket Creek Farm is a grass-based dairy in northwestern Massachusetts.  We are looking for a Farm Manager to collaborate with the General Manager in all aspects of our farm operation. We are currently milking 25 cows, out of a total of 65 animals on the farm. Our dairy herd is grass-based, combining rotational grazing with self- harvested winter feed. All milk is used for producing farmstead artisanal cheese and raw milk sales. In addition to the dairy herd, we maintain a small group of beef animals (~10-15), and raise pigs and laying hens. We have an on-site farm store, a bakery, a year-round CSA and attend as many as 10 farmer’s markets per week during the summer. For more information, please visit

We strive to create the highest quality dairy products in a humane and environmentally sustainable fashion.  We are looking for a motivated individual to join our collaborative team and help us realize this vision.   This is a unique opportunity to be involved in every aspect of a small dairy operation – from cow health to cheese production.  This is a challenging job that will be extremely rewarding.


The Farm Manager will work on all aspects of the farm operation: milking cows, making hay, optimizing pastures, managing fertility, maintaining farm equipment, and most importantly, overseeing the health of our animals.

The Farm Manager will work with the General Manager on matters of planning and organization, and in the absence of the General Manager, will oversee all farm operations, including cow health, milking schedule, and additional employee management.

The Farm Manager will have significant responsibility, holding primary responsibility for our beef herd, laying flock and pig herd.

The Farm Manager will also be expected to participate in other areas of the farm, including helping out in the creamery at times of labor shortage, filling in at Farmer’s Markets, filling raw milk, etc. These duties will not be routine, but all staff are expected to be flexible and help out in other areas at times of need.

The Farm Manager will be responsible for overseeing the farm side of the Cricket Creek Farm apprenticeship program, working in conjunction with the General Manager and the Creamery Manager on hiring, scheduling and educating.

This is a full-time position. Housing may be available. Compensation consistent with experience and length of commitment. Start date is flexible, but must be no later than March 1, 2013.


Qualified individuals should have a minimum of two years experience working on farms, including time with dairy animals.

Applicants should also have management experience.

Necessary skills include heavy equipment operation and repair and medical treatment of animals.

Candidates must be highly motivated, and self-directing.  The ability to work independently within a team environment is critical. Strong problem-solving skills are necessary. Attention to detail is a must. Applicants should be well-organized and bring a positive attitude, able to respond to the daily challenges of farming in an upbeat manner.


The Farm Manager will work six days per week. Hours will be variable based on season, but the Farm Manager should expect to regularly work more than 55 hours/week.

The Farm Manager will have 18 days off a year, plus an additional 10 days for educational purposes. To qualify, educational opportunities must feature formal instruction, be directly related to dairy farming and applicable to work at Cricket Creek Farm.


A minimum commitment of two years is required, with a formal review and evaluation at the one-year point.


Please direct serious inquires to Topher Sabot: or call the farm at (413) 458-5888. A complete résumé and references will be required. Position available immediately.

Detailed Job Description:

Cricket Creek Farm is a unique farm and requires adaptability and a willingness to engage in all aspects of the operation.

The Farm Manager will manage the farm operation in collaboration with the General Manager, taking on additional responsibility with experience. A collaborative workplace provides many benefits, but can also be challenging. An ability to work well with other farm personnel is critical.

–       Grazing management: Our farm is grass-based and thus grazing is one of the single most important aspects of the operation. We have 30 acres dedicated to the dairy herd and another 30 for dry cows, heifers and beef animals. We manage intensively with the dairy herd moving every 12 hours and the main beef/heifer group moving every 24 hours. While our system works well overall, there is room for refinement, especially in regards to soil health and pasture productivity.

The General Manager will oversee grazing operations, but the Farm Manager will be heavily involved monitoring pasture and working to maximize cow health, quality milk production, and the long term sustainability and health of the fields.

–       Hay Management: We put up our winter feed as 4×4 round bales. The goal is to produce as much dry hay as possible, limited by weather and storage. The majority of our feed is baleage. Our yearly harvest is approximately 650 bales, 200 of which are dry.

The hay fields are a mix of grasses and clover, with several pieces of 50% alfalfa. Key responsibilities include timing of cutting and baling, working with the General Manager.

–       Fertility Management: A key component of the farm is managing fertility of hay fields and pasture. With a limited number of animals, generating adequate fertility to maintain forage production is a challenge. We are in need of a long-term fertility management plan.

The Farm Manager will be expected to work on developing such a plan in consultation with the General Manager.

–       Reproductive Management/Genetics: At Cricket Creek we use a combination of artificial insemination and natural breeding with a bull. The Farm Manager will be expected to learn AI techniques (if not already proficient) and work with the General Manager on long term genetic progress.

The goal is to build a herd genetically suited for a grass-based, low-grain or no-grain dairy production environment. We select for traits that are conducive to well-rounded healthy animals with a long productive life-span.

The General Manager oversees the breeding program, but the Farm Manager will be expected to provide input and participate in breeding activities and daily management.

–       Beef Herd: We currently buy in most of our beef animals as six-month calves from a neighboring farm. They are generally managed in conjunction with our dairy heifers. We have explored creating our own breeding herd and would like to pursue that in the future. Limiting factors include grazing acreage and winter feed.

Additional responsibility of beef management includes scheduling slaughter dates and managing meat inventory.

The Farm Manager will have primary responsibility for daily management of the beef herd.

–       Laying Flock: We maintain a laying flock of 80 hens, which provide eggs exclusively for our CSA. We buy in eggs for the farm store. The flock is housed in a mobile coop. We are looking to improve productivity and more closely manage hen nutrition. There is also an opportunity to make better use of fertility produced by the flock.

Our goal is to increase the size of our laying flock and make better use of fertility provided by the hens. The Farm Manager will be responsible for overseeing this project.

–       Swine Breeding/Husbandry: We raise approximately 15-20 hogs a year. They are fed primarily whey from the cheesemaking operation and veggie compost. We currently have two sows, and borrow a boar for breeding. The breeding operation is new in the past two years, and needs refinement and focus.

We would like to transition our pasture-based pigs to a mixed wooded environment. The Farm Manager will be in charge of advancing the swine program.

–       Equipment Maintenance/Repair: We have three tractors, a round baler, hay rake, brush hog, hay mower, tedder, skid steer, and other assorted equipment. Proper maintenance of this equipment is critical to the operation of the farm.

Farm Manager responsibilities include managing regularly scheduled maintenance.

–       Grounds/Physical Plant Management: The Farm Manager will be responsible for overseeing general grounds upkeep, including lawn mowing and related tasks and for basic physical plant upkeep and repairs.

–       Other Duties:  All staff participate in the upkeep and daily operations of the Farm Store. The Farm Manager should expect to close the store once per week and perform all associated tasks.

As Cricket Creek Farm is an open farm, welcoming visitors, all staff are expected to interact regularly with the public and must be comfortable acting as a face of the farm. In addition to incidental contact throughout the day, the Farm Manager should expect to lead occasional tours for school groups and other members of the public.

–       Apprenticeship Program: Cricket Creek Farm started an apprenticeship program two years ago. Apprentices may work on just the farm, just with cheese, or a combination of both. Apprentices are required to stay for one year. This program is a core component of the farm.

The Farm Manager must be interested in working with interns, taking a teaching role, as well as vetting applicants and collaborating on scheduling and daily management.


Farm Operations:

There are three main parts of Cricket Creek Farm — the dairy, the creamery and the bakery. Other significant elements fall within these, including the other animals (pigs, chickens, beef, farm store, CSA, markets). While there is a division of labor there is much cross-over, and all staff are engaged in the Farm Store, the CSA and markets, to varying degrees.

The success of the farm depends on the success of the individual elements, so while we track the performance of every enterprise, we remain focused on the overall goal of long term sustainability of the entire farm.

The General Manager oversees all Cricket Creek operations and works primarily on the farm. The Creamery Manager is the head cheesemaker and handles most marketing tasks, including CSA and market management. The Baker runs the bakery and handles many bookkeeping tasks.

This year we have had five interns — two full-time in the cheese room, and three splitting between cheese and farm. Additionally, there is an hourly assistant in the bakery.

Cricket Creek Status:

The current iteration of Cricket Creek Farm came into being 11 years ago when the Sabot Family purchased what had been a conventional corn-based confinement dairy. That began a project of building a grass-based sustainable dairy with cheesemaking as the primary source of revenue.

Starting two years ago we embarked on an ambitious plan to take what was a failing business financially and break-even within three years. We will just miss this goal at the end of year two by a small amount.

While we have made great progress, there is still much to do, and in many ways Cricket Creek is still in start-up mode. This means lots of work, and many challenges, all on a tight budget. But it also means lots of positive energy and opportunity to make a meaningful difference.

The Farm Manager must be excited to engage in this type of project.

Our Mission:


The Culture of the Farm:

We attempt to cultivate an environment of mutual respect and learning. Hard work, long days, and attention to detail are critical.

We encourage independent thought and creative thinking. People are our greatest resource, and every new person that comes to the farm brings unique ideas, fresh energy and a particular skill set. While departures are always challenging, the advantages of new perspectives are great.

All staff and apprentices are expected to take responsibility for their work. While our goal is to create clear structure on the farm, we do not want to micro-manage.

Managers (Bakery, Creamery and Farm) are empowered to make decisions on a daily basis and are trusted to decide when discussions with the General Manager or other Managers is required.

Larger-scale issues involving long term development — both vision and logistical — will be discussed with the General Manager, prior to action.

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