Aspiring farmers, find a job in agriculture! To learn about farming, the best thing is to get to work! Spring and summer are ideal for apprenticeships when farmers need hands to help with the long, hard hustle of the growing season. The Greenhorns jobs list is a good place to start searching. And be sure to look up your local regional sustainable food network! (links below) If you are unable to quit your current job, put your gear in storage, and move to a farm internship or job, consider volunteering on a farm to get a sense of the pace of commercial agriculture. Organic Volunteers and WWOOF USA are great resources to find a farm in the U.S. Also, farmers don’t need just field work support. They also need accounting, babysitting, graphic design, web design, carpentry, plumbing, pep talks, social connections, and ice cream. You can learn a lot about farming by just befriending and supporting a farmer, young or old. Scroll for links to important resources!
+++ The Grange School of Adaptive Agriculture
How do you practice Adaptive Agriculture? You start by educating yourself on the cutting edge practices, by questioning conventions, by equipping yourself with the skills to flex, adapt, adjust to changing conditions and contexts.
- San Juan Ranch (Saguache, CO): San Juan Ranch is a certified organic, grass-fed beef ranch operated by George Whitten and Julie Sullivan. The apprenticeship curriculum includes Holistic Management, low-stress animal husbandry, range health monitoring, planned grazing, herding, ranch infrastructure maintenance, soil health, and grass-fed finishing.
- James Ranch Artisan Cheese (Durango, CO): James Ranch Artisan Cheese manages a small herd of Jersey cows for the production of raw milk and small-batch cheeses. Operated by Dan and Becca James, JRAC is one of several family-run enterprises on the larger James Ranch.
- Brett Gray Ranch (Rush, CO): Round River Resource Management LLC is a land resource and livestock management company dedicated to restoring and improving agricultural operations through the principles of Holistic Management in a sustainable manner and consistent with the goals of the resource owner.
- Ranney Ranch (Corona, NM): The Ranney Ranch is a family owned cow-calf ranching operation that sits at 6200′ in the high mesa country of central New Mexico. The ranch sells young, range-finished beef direct to consumers who value how their food choices impact the environment.
- Tooley’s Trees (Truchas, NM): Tooley's Trees is a family-run, ten-acre tree nursery owned and operated by Gordon Tooley and Margaret Yancey. They grow drought tolerant fruit and conifer trees and shrubs in fabric root bags, on drip irrigation, using holistic growing practices for healthier plants and soils, higher water quality, and increased beneficial insects.
- Cobblestone Ranch (Los Molinos, CA): The Cobblestone Ranch is a sheep operation based on private property and on federal wildlife refuge lands. Breanna Owens uses rotational grazing with the overall goal of maintaining and enhancing wildlife habitat and specific goals of reducing thatch, shrub and weed control, and stimulating new herbaceous growth.
- Vilicus Farms (Havre, MT): Vilicus Farms is a first generation, nationally recognized organic, dryland crop farm. Anna and Doug grow a diverse array of heirloom and specialty grains, pulse, oilseed and broadleaf crops with advanced land stewardship at a scale that matters.
- Paid farm managers (usually on an annual basis, including housing)
- Leasees to run their own business (usually on a multi-year lease, sometimes with housing, usually with barns and a certain amount of infrastructure already in place)
we have created a list of places for farmland owners to post their opportunities, as wel as some useful resources for becoming a ‘literate, proactive, and benign’ landowner (which we hope is your goal as well!). Agriculture takes time. It is based on relationships; on observation and interventions; on instinct and care. It is a delicate and lovely and worthy or consideration and respect. It is also full of drama, heartbreak, and financial stress. To succeed, we suggest you spend the time ahead of the game to fully define your holistic goals. Here’s a list of important places and regional networks to get you started: NATIONAL The Greenhorns jobs list Good Food Jobs National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Organic Volunteers WWOOF USA Orion Grassroots jobs listing Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association National American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program Small Farmers Journal (a quarterly publication with a classifieds section) Holistic Management International COMFOOD listserv, Tufts University Land Stewardship Project EAST NEW ENGLAND Land for Good NEW YORK NOFA-NY Columbia County Land Conservancy Landowner Matching Program PENNSYLVANIA PASA MAINE MOFGA Midwest MOSES WEST High Country News jobs board Ranch World Ads OREGON iFarm (a project of Friends of Family Farmers) Ten Rivers Food Web Oregon Tilth Rogue Farm Corps CALIFORNIA CASFS (Santa Cruz apprenticeship program) California Farmlink NEW MEXICO Quivira Coalition New Agrarian apprenticeship program, Apprentice Link WEST NORTH CAROLINA (also a great resource for aspiring farmers to find apprenticeships!) +++