Overview: Vilicus Farms is a first generation, organic, dryland crop farm located in northern Hill County, Montana. Established in 2009, Vilicus Farms grows a diverse array of heirloom and specialty grains, pulse, oilseed and broadleaf crops within a 5-year rotation on approximately 4,600 acres.
Apprenticeship Description & Duties: The 2015 positions are an initial 6-8 month professional development commitment. Ideally after this immersion experience apprentices will be ready to commit to shaping a longer-term arrangement that further develops their farm management skills, and prepares them to launch their own farm enterprise. Apprentices will work under the direct supervision of the farm managers. Specific training will be tailored to the skill sets and needs of the apprentice. Apprentices will be an integral part of the Vilicus Farms team and are expected to participate fully in the daily work planning sessions, weekly/monthly team meetings and visioning discussions. Apprentices will participate in the physical labor of the operation as well as the mental challenge of all aspects of the management of the farm business. Specific activities will be dependent upon the operations needed for any given season. Responsibilities and tasks will generally include:
- Large-scale machinery operations, tillage, seeding, cultivation, cover crop termination, green manure incorporation, swathing, combining, and crop storage/delivery.
- Field and crop scouting to monitor crop conditions, weed, pest, disease incidents, and soil health.
- Record keeping, maintenance, review, development and analysis. Including documentation of field operations, organic certification records, and conservation practices.
- Machinery maintenance, periodic service, cleaning and repairs as needed.
- Planning and implementation of conservation practices such as wildlife and pollinator habitat, windbreaks, field border establishment.
- Weeding, mowing and facility upkeep.
- Participation in field days, farm tours, and conferences to further develop knowledge of dryland cropping systems, organic production and grow connections with the network of organic producers in the northern plains.
Apprentices will be required to complete one capstone project during his/her appointment. This project will be chosen based on the interests of the Apprentice and the current needs of the farm enterprise.
Minimum Requirements: Applicants must have a keen interest in becoming a farmer. They must be self-starters, have the ability to work independently, appreciate the challenges and joys of working outside in all conditions, be a solid problem solver, with an open creative mind, and embrace diversity. The chosen applicants must be mature individuals and excited to engage in their own learning process. Ideally, candidates should have a minimum of a Bachelors degree (or be close to finishing) or provide proof of success in an academic setting. Formal training in agriculture or farm management isn’t required but an ability to apply whole systems thinking, curiosity, and a broad ability to learn and be reflective is a necessity. However, candidates do need to have had agricultural experiences that are sufficient to have led them to know they want to pursue a life of farming. Candidates must have a valid US drivers license with a good record, and a passport allowing travel to Canada.
Compensation/Work Schedule: $1,000 stipend/month. Full room and board is provided. Work schedule will be dependent upon farming activities, but anticipate periods of long days, 6 days a week during the growing season. We strive to provide 1 day (or two partial days off) a week off during the growing season.
The farm is located 40 miles from the nearest town in a very rural location with limited population. Candidates should be willing to embrace this lifestyle and understand there is limited access to services.
Applications will be accepted until January 30th, 2015. Interviews will be conducted by Skype or in person at the applicant’s expense in early 2015. Start date of the apprenticeship is negotiable but ideally will cover an entire working season. For the right candidate we will accommodate university commitments. Fieldwork and seeding preparations can start as early as March.
Full application requirements can be downloaded from Vilicus Farms
This is an professional development opportunity. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.