Grazing Apprentice Program Curriculum and Responsibilities
The apprenticeship program aims for each apprentice to become skilled in the practices of agroecology. Agroecosystems can produce better food and healthier environments through regenerative practices in land stewardship. Our goal is to minimize environmental and social impact with fewer external inputs while producing food and supporting grasslands health. Our agroecological principles serve as the tools for these management decisions. The Grazing Apprentice will gain practical production experience in a regenerative grasslands system. This apprentice experience will be supported with on-farm and indoor classroom time to provide a comprehensive understanding of agroecological systems. The grazing manager and his team will provide daily operational training, mentorship, and guidance in the management and operations associated with the health and welfare of all ruminant species in our intensive 100% grass-fed system. The pastures cover approximately 330 acres of grasslands . The apprentice will participate on a team that includes farm managers, other apprentices, support staff, interns and volunteers.
Apprentices participate extensively in the Center’s educational outreach, providing them with opportunities to build communication skills around our practices in agroecology and food system change with diverse audiences, including farmers, chefs, weekend visitors, and high school and college students.
In addition, apprentices will participate in classes, workshops and conferences led by Stone Barns Center’s experienced farmers and other food and agricultural experts in the region. The aim is to create literacy around agroecology. This academic component will reinforce and supplement the apprenticeship’s hands-on production training with a working knowledge of the science, arts and practical applications of agroecology. Some workshops will be complemented by traveling to other farms in the region through the apprentice’s participation in the Hudson Valley Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) program and through Stone Barns Center generated opportunities.
The grazing apprentice will learn skills for managing an intensive multispecies livestock grazing program as well as learn components of a conservation grazing model on the 200 acres of pasture within a state park preserve that is integrated within the work of Stone Barns Center. This opportunity will integrate the care and maintenance of cattle, sheep and goat flocks as well as have a focus on regenerative pasture management. There will be occasional opportunity for rotational support work into our rangelands operation with swine and poultry as well. The Grazing Apprentice will work closely with the Grazier Manager and the Assistant Grazier with daily farm operations and through the course of the season, the apprentice will develop production skills including by not limited to:
- Livestock husbandry
- Health and maintenance of cattle and ruminants
- High quality animal welfare and health practices
- Foot trimming, shearing, crutching and natural worming of sheep
- A working knowledge of lambing management
- Small ruminant management
- FAMACHA and internal parasite management in small ruminants
- Record keeping
- Fence, tool and equipment maintenance
The Apprenticeship Program will be scheduling each participant into a whole farm rotational schedule beginning in June of 2019 and extending into the fall season. This will provide an opportunity one week a month to immerse into a different farm operation including crops, perennial landscape, compost, rangeland and grazing. The remaining three weeks of this rotational schedule will be a continued focus on your specialized apprenticeship.
Additionally, roughly 25 percent of your time will be dedicated to interdisciplinary training in agroecology, food system literacy and vocational training in class. Topics will include but are not limited to:
- Soil, flavor and health
- Genetic diversity
- Food’s future in education
- The botany and zoology of our landscapes
The purpose of this interdisciplinary training is to create literacy around key principles of agroecology to empower future leaders to contribute to the conversation around our food systems’ real world problems and the budding solutions that are a part of the current dialogue.
Requirements for Admission
Applicants should be committed to learning and passionate about developing their career as a farmer and food system leader. Preference will be given to applicants with one to two full seasons of farming experience and a background in a production setting. Strong commitment and effort is required and solid time management skills are essential. Apprentices will need to feel comfortable in an educational setting. Teaching or public speaking skills are a plus. Additional prerequisites include the ability to lift at least 50 pounds, be outside in adverse weather conditions and to function positively in a team and as part of a collaborative work environment. Parts of the apprenticeship require intensive physical effort.
The program runs five days per week and includes weekend rotations. This is a nine and 1/2-month apprenticeship, running from February 18, 2019 to November 29, 2019. There is one grazing apprentice opportunity offered this year. Each Stone Barns Center apprentice receives a bi-weekly stipend of $1250.00 (gross before taxes), which includes funds for housing. In addition, Stone Barns voluntarily provides workers’ compensation and short-term disability insurance to apprentices.
Please follow the application steps here. The deadline for applications is October 15th 2018 . Promising candidates will be interviewed and invited for a mandatory in-person trial day during November and early December.