A project of the Foundation for Agricultural Integrity, Churchtown Dairy is a working Biodynamic farm that values care for the earth, plants, animals and people. We give attention to our work and to each other as we strive for quality in all our endeavors—our produce, our programs, and our human encounters.
As part of our work the Churchtown Dairy operates a 28-cow Biodynamic dairy farm located on 250 acres in Claverack, NY. Two of those acres are devoted to a Healing Garden in which medicinal plants are grown for the enjoyment of visitors and for use in medicinal products. The farm and gardens are run by skilled and dedicated farmers with the support of apprentices and offer aspiring farmers and those who wish to experience the rigors of land work an opportunity to learn farming skills and an appreciation for nature. Churchtown Dairy also runs a cheesemaking operation, producing high quality cheese from our Biodynamic milk, and a Welcome Center to engage visitors. Working and learning together and holding ourselves to high standards, we produce quality milk, meat, cheese, and medicinal products.
Churchtown Dairy Farm Apprentices are part of the Farm Team led by the Farm Manager and Dairy Herd Manager and including Assistant Dairy Farmers. Churchtown Dairy takes a hands-on approach to learning and a strong emphasis is placed on learning through doing. The work is physically demanding and often repetitive, and we depend upon apprentices to perform much of the day-to-day work of running the farm. We are also committed to training apprentices in practical skills and devote time for exploration of the philosophical and observational aspects of farming and gardening that underpin our work.
We run our program in conjunction with the Institute for Mindful Agriculture (IMA) and for the first five months of the program (November – March), apprentices will have weekly focused learning sessions coordinated by IMA and Churchtown Dairy staff. Monthly sessions will be held for the remainder of the year. Apprentices will learn all aspects of dairy farming including milking, calf-rearing, basics of hay making, rotational grazing and pasture management. Apprentices will also be included in caring for our beef herd, pigs and chickens.
This is a physically demanding program and requires significant lifting and working in extreme temperatures and variable weather conditions. Experience working on the land is strongly preferred. Apprentices must have good communication skills and be able to communicate in a professional and respectful manner with management, co-workers and visitors.
The program will run from November 2, 2020 to October 31, 2021. Apprentices will generally have two days off per week, but will be required to work weekends and holidays.
- Perform daily farm chores including
- Feeding and watering dairy herd, beef herd, chickens and pigs
- Five morning or afternoon milkings per week, performed in accordance with Churchtown Dairy protocols
- Maintaining the barn and milk house in a clean and organized manner following Churchtown Dairy protocols
- Moving animals according to grazing pattern established by Farm Development Team
- Participate in winter forage production and storage for all farm livestock under the supervision of the Farm Manager
- Move, maintain, and establish fence lines as instructed by Farm Manager
- Assist with compost management including:
- Regular winter yard scraping and mucking out of barns in spring
- Turning compost as needed and instructed by Farm Manager
- Spreading compost as needed and instructed by Farm Manager
- Maintain dairy herd awareness and report any concerns to Dairy Herd Manager
- Apply basic remedies as needed when instructed by Dairy Herd Manager
- Maintain daily records in accordance with Churchtown Dairy protocols
- Participate in Biodynamic Preparation making
- Actively participate in Apprenticeship Training Program including keeping farm journal
- Maintain clear and professional communication with colleagues and guests
- Additional duties as assigned
- Ability to work with cows in a respectful manner and/or willing to learn
- Interest in Biodynamics
- Ability to communicate effectively and respectfully
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Ability to lift up to 50 pounds
- A commitment to strive for best farming practices
- Single room in shared home
- Milk, meat, and cheese from the farm
- $750 bi-weekly stipend, subject to taxes
- Supportive work and learning environment
Please send letter of interest and resume to Anneice Cousin at email@example.com with DAIRY FARM APPRENTICESHIP in the subject line. Preference given to applications received by September 6, 2020.