Organic Dairy Program Director Job – Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport, Maine – Fall 2015
A pioneer in sustainable agriculture since the 1960s, Wolfe’s Neck Farm (WNF) is a Freeport, Maine-based nonprofit agricultural campus close to the greater Portland metro area, set on 626-acres of incredible beauty, consisting of a unique mix of ecological systems: forest, marsh, pasture lands and four miles of coastline. Our programs focus on helping support a stronger regional food system and connecting people all ages with sustainable agriculture. Thousands of people are attracted annually to the farm for programs and events where they learn about sustainable farming, gain a greater understanding of where their food comes from, and how they can be more active participants in the regional food system.
The Wolfe’s Neck Farm Organic Dairy Program provides a platform for pasture and forage-based research, experimentation, demonstration and training, with a specific focus on training the next generation of viable and profitable organic dairy farmers. Wolfe’s Neck Farm has an ambitious vision and the Organic Dairy Program is playing a critical role in helping realize that vision. This program is the first of its kind in the nation, and is being launched with a major grant from the Danone Ecosystem Fund and Stonyfield and in partnership with Wisconsin-based Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship.
Wolfe’s Neck Farm seeks an experienced, innovative leader and manager who shares our passion for supporting the organic dairy industry, helping develop the most viable future models for organic dairy – both economically and ecologically – and training the next generation of organic dairy farmers. This is a rare opportunity for the right candidate to lead a vital new initiative aimed at supporting the future of organic dairy production in Maine and New England. The Program Director reports to the Executive Director and serves as the primary source of education and mentoring for the Apprentices.
- Provide effective leadership in the design, planning and development of the Organic Dairy Program and farmer training program
- Manage the organic dairy operation and provide effective leadership and management of the farmer trainees and farm staff. The Program Director will provide oversight for the operation with significant support from two trained and skilled farm staff, plus four farmer trainees/apprentices. The Program Director is responsible for ensuring the highest quality care is provided to all animals at all times. This includes managing herd health and performance, maintaining accurate records including those required for organic certification, and assisting in the management and maintenance of grazing infrastructure, including pastures, water systems, travel lanes and fencing.
- Develop and manage the Organic Dairy Program budget
- Work closely with the Farmer and Technical Advisory Board for the Organic Dairy Program, made up of active organic dairy farmers and industry leaders from throughout New England
- Support planning of an annual organic dairy conference at Wolfe’s Neck Farm in conjunction with other organizations and higher institutions
- Collaborate with researchers and research projects related to dairy and forage operations. Stay abreast of leading forage-based practice and research from around the world and incorporate and evaluate new approaches as appropriate
- Seek out training and networking opportunities, including workshops, conferences, visits to area farms, etc. Work to develop partnerships and articulation agreements with other institutions
- Work closely with the WNF Board and Staff, particularly the Director of Education, to integrate the Organic Dairy Program into existing education programs, events and the visitor experience at WNF
- Attend and participate in Wolfe’s Neck Farm and community events as needed and as appropriate
Skills and Qualifications
- Documented experience managing an organic dairy operation for several years including strong, working knowledge of all aspects of organic dairy production systems, including an understanding of the National Organic Program standards, pasture-based management, forage quality, animal and soil health, cow comfort, costs of production, and effective business management practices
- Bachelor’s Degree or greater in Animal Science, Livestock Management, Sustainable Agriculture or other related field
- Experience developing and leading training programs, particularly related to organic dairy systems.
- An appreciation for the importance of rigorous research and a willingness to work collaboratively with researchers from partner organizations to conduct dairy operations in ways which facilitate ongoing applied research and experimentation at the farm
- A strong interest in and knowledge of the food system, sustainable agriculture, and the natural environment
- Strong desire to be part of a dynamic, entrepreneurial work environment and a growing non-profit organization
- Strong interpersonal skills and public communication abilities including excellent writing and computer skills
- Strong organizational abilities, time management skills and ability to prioritize and manage multiple projects and meet deadlines
- Proficiency to operate tractors and other mechanical equipment routinely used in farming
- Energetic, dynamic and engaging personality
- Must be able to work a variable work schedule, which includes work on weekends and holidays
The Organic Dairy Program Director is a full-time, year round, exempt position. Starting salary is commensurate with experience. As a full time employee, the Program Director is eligible for benefits offered by Wolfe’s Neck Farm, including: health insurance, dental insurance, paid vacation/holidays and our retirement savings plan. This is a residential position and on-site housing is provided at 50% market rate.
Please email a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org with Dairy Director as the subject line. In the interest of reducing waste, please do not mail a hard copy of your materials. Interested candidates are strongly encouraged to submit materials for consideration by Oct 2, 2015.
Wolfe’s Neck Farm Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values diversity in the workplace.