GRAZING APPRENTICE POSITION
We are currently accepting applications for a highly motivated and hardworking individual who is interested in pursuing a career in regenerative farming, with a focus on grazing management, This job will begin on or around June 1st, 2020 and the formal apprenticeship will last for approximately two years, with on the job training supplemented with classroom learning.
All Grass Farms is a diversified 150 acre farm located just 45 miles northwest of Chicago, Illinois. The primary focus of our farm is on pasture-based livestock production, utilizing humane, organic, and regenerative agricultural practices. The farm currently raises A2 Guernsey cattle for raw milk, chickens both for meat and eggs, beef cattle, Berkshire hogs and heritage turkeys. We also have approximately 5 acres devoted to vegetable production, herbs, flowers and soft fruits. Most of our production is sold directly to consumers at the busy onsite farm store. We are planning on opening a larger farm store later in 2020 and adding a second farm location in 2021. To learn more about the farm and our farming practices, please visit our website at www.allgrassfarms.com.
We are seeking a passionate individual who is interested in becoming a full time regenerative/sustainable grazing farmer and advancing into a farm manager or herd manager role once the 2 year apprenticeship program is completed.. No experience is required but preference will be given to those with some farming experience and those who have an interest in regenerative agriculture and livestock management as a profession.
Qualified applicants must be at least 18 years of age at start of position and able to lift at least 50 lbs to shoulder height (feed bags, bale of hay, bucket of milk etc.), and be available to work at all times of the day. Early mornings - sometimes starting at 5 am - into the early evening (evening chores often stretch to 7 pm). Potentially up to 60 hrs./week during peak season (May – November) and 35-40 hrs./week during winter months. We have partnered with the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program to provide additional classroom training and field days focused on dairy grazing management. To learn more about the DGA program please review their website.
The Farm Apprentice will participate in most farm activities with a strong emphasis on learning about the growing dairy enterprise on the farm, which is a year-round operation. Dairy operation includes AM and PM milking, cleaning the barn, feeding cows, cleaning out their sleeping quarters (mostly in winter), preparing them for milking, prepping and cleaning the milking equipment, and moving cows out to pasture as well as managing pasture rotations. Occasional assistance with calving and care of newborn calves is also required.
The poultry enterprise also operates year-round but is most active in March - November with broiler chicken and turkey production. . Specific tasks associated with poultry include taking care of chicks and poults while in brooder phase of production, taking care of growing broiler chickens on pasture including feeding and watering, moving portable shelters, loading chickens and turkeys for processing, gathering, cleaning and processing eggs from up to 2000 hens, moving eggmobiles several times per week and taking down/setting up their portable fencing. Other farm tasks will include managing pasture rotations for beef cattle and hogs, loading and unloading feed and hay trucks, helping operate farm equipment, planting and maintaining the pastures, feeding and moving pigs. Additional help may be required with farm store, customer interactions, product marketing, farm tours and events.
As part of your apprenticeship you will be working with:
Livestock. Our livestock are to be respected and well-cared for at all times. It is essential to always be attentive to their needs and health issues. Apprentices will be taught how to handle and work with the livestock and expected to follow and remember instructions. Working with animals demands the development of intuitive observation skills.
Farm equipment, machinery, tools, tractors, vehicles, etc. You will be taught how to safely operate farm tools, machinery and equipment and are expected to follow the instructions and handle the equipment safely and responsibly.
The successful apprentice will have a strong desire to be here every day, to be interested in learning about everything we do, to work hard, to laugh when you trip over a fence or fall on a manure pile, to learn from your mistakes and ours, to be challenged, to have grit and determination, to look for inspiration, to ask questions, to try new things, to be observant, self-motivated, able to work independently and as part of a team, able to do repetitive tasks without complaining, with a willingness to be taught and accept constructive criticism, and be self-confident. You must be motivated, thrilled and inspired about regenerative farming. At times you will be working in 100 degree heat, subzero cold, driving rainstorms, and blizzards. Our methods of farming can be very challenging but also very rewarding in humble ways. We are looking for an individual that has the work ethic, motivation, curiosity, intelligence, and problem solving skills to successfully manage one of our farms in the future. This is not a summer job.
Starting compensation is $12-$15 per hour depending on experience, with opportunities for additional compensation based on performance. No overtime is paid for this position. During the growing season the workdays will average 10-12 hours – 6 days per week. During winter months the hours will be limited to 6-8 hours per day with 1-2 days off per week. At this time we do not have housing available on the farm, but there is ample affordable housing nearby as we are located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. There is also a substantial employee discount for farm produced goods including raw milk, grassfed beef, pasture-raised pork, chicken and eggs available at discount. There is no on-farm housing available currently, but possibly in 2021.
For the right person, there will be potential to advance into farm management roles as well as entrepreneurial ventures on one of our farms. If you think you are that right person for this position, please send a detailed letter of interest describing your background, education, work history, farming interests, and why you would be the best fit for this role to firstname.lastname@example.org. Those individuals with the right qualifications will be invited to visit the farm and interview in person for the role.