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Heifer USA Apprenticeship Programs

Live and work on the Ranch

Heifer USA works with small-scale farmers to help them transform their communities. We offer an intensive, multi-year Apprenticeship Programs at Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas. The apprentices will work directly with Heifer USA livestock and agriculture experts and technical assistants. Upon successful completion of the program, apprentices will have a broad range of understanding of many aspects of farming.

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Livestock Apprenticeship

  • Daily farm chores
  • Animal welfare and management
  • Dairy goat management
  • Livestock herd selection
  • Woodlot pig management
  • Poultry management: layers and broilers, poultry processing
  • Production management: poultry, cattle, sheep, hog, and dairy goats
  • Regenerative grazing techniques: Grass-fed production, hay making, pasture management
  • Livestock enterprise planning, budgeting, record keeping and market analysis
  • Food safety considerations and regulations
  • Farm mechanics: tool use, tractor safety and operation, truck and trailer safety and operation

Market Garden Apprenticeship

  • Production planning
  • Soil testing and amending
  • Seeding and transplanting
  • Greenhouse management
  • Weed and pest management
  • Managing fertility
  • Irrigation equipment and techniques
  • Mulching and cover cropping
  • Season extension techniques and technology
  • Equipment and tools for the market gardener
  • Harvest and post-harvest handling procedures
  • Cold chain management
  • Record-keeping
  • Enterprise planning

Program Overview:

YEAR ONE - Apprentices will live on-site and be mentored by personnel.

  • Comprehensive hands-on technical trainings in conservation agricultural practices, and production management;
  • Classroom sessions including enterprise planning, conservation agricultural practices, and production management;
  • Technical trainings are complemented with relevant classroom sessions on business planning, record keeping, marketing and relevant legal topics:
    • Introduction to business planning and record keeping
    • Introduction to marketing and market analysis
    • Introduction to USDA Support
    • Introduction to Farm Legal Issues
    • Business plan required to move to Year Two

YEAR TWO – Apprentices will live on-site and have management responsibilities of an established agricultural enterprise.

  • Comprehensive hands-on technical trainings in conservation agricultural practices and production management
  • Classroom sessions including enterprise planning, conservation agricultural practices and production management
  • Ability to deliver more advanced agricultural presentations
  • Technical trainings are complemented with relevant classroom sessions on business planning, record keeping, marketing and relevant topics
    • Whole Farm Plan utilized and updated, continued support from technical assistance providers
    • Farm structure identified in business plan, food safety plan developed as apprentice transitions to own land
    • Compliance and management of USDA programs
    • Business plan including marketing plan required to move to Year Three

YEAR THREE – Apprentices establish or strengthen their own farm enterprises.

  • Apprentices receive ongoing mentorship from established farmers and Heifer staff
  • Regular check-ins on enterprise plans and cash flow analysis
  • Continuing education opportunities

Details

Commitment: One-year initial commitment required for a mid-January arrival. In order to maximize effectiveness of the educational experience, we have developed a 3-year program. The learning objectives & skill development will not be accomplished until completion of the third year. Successful completion of each year is a prerequisite to continue to the next.

Schedule: Apprentices should expect to work between 40-55 hours per week with two days off per week. Frequent weekend and evening work is necessary.

Supervised by: Regional Farmer Engagement Managers

Benefits Apprentices will be provided a stipend of ~$600 per month. On-site housing provided, if desired; Access to vehicles for local transportation; Potential for profit sharing in Year 2 of program.

Selection Criteria and Skills Needed:

Heifer USA is proud to use sustainable agriculture and food system work as tools for promoting social justice.  We are intentionally inclusive of limited resource and socially disadvantaged communities and individuals.

  • Passion! Applicant wants to pursue a career in farming
  • Self-driven – applicant does not need to be micromanaged
  • Hard-working and flexible
  • Thrives in a diverse environment
  • Whatever it takes to get the job done!
  • Willingness to work outdoors during inclement weather
  • Willingness to participate in all aspects of production
  • Willingness & ability to share housing, including housekeeping chores

Requirements: Minimum age of 18 years old at start of service period, complete required training, and follow all policies & procedures. Must pass a background check.

To Apply: Obtain an application by emailing heiferusa@heifer.org or calling 1-855-343-4337 (Press 4). Applications are currently being accepted for apprentices who will begin the program with arrival on-site in mid-January. Applications can be submitted by mailing, faxing, emailing or dropping it off in person.

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