The objective of the Dickinson College Farm is to prepare aspiring farmers and food system innovators for leadership positions in farming, food systems, or sustainability related careers. We aim to provide our 2022 Livestock Team Leader with the skills, experience, and knowledge needed to advance into a management role – whether on a production livestock farm or within sustainable food systems initiatives. The experience is also applicable should someone choose to return to academic studies or seek other employment related to food, sustainability, and education.
The farm raises Angus and Herford beef cattle, mixed-breed sheep, and laying hens. All animals are raised on pasture – the cattle and sheep are certified grass-fed and certified humanely raised by A Greener World. Laying hens are kept in a mobile pen with daily access to pasture and fresh air. In 2022 we will have 15-20 cattle, 40-50 sheep and about 50 hens. We raise cattle and sheep from birth to maturity on the farm, then sell the mature animals as retail meat products or live animals to other local growers. We aim for a low stress management system with an emphasis on livestock and pasture health, productivity, and worker safety. Meats and eggs from the hens are sold through the farm’s CSA program, an online retail store, the College dining hall, and occasional farm to table and grilling events.
In addition to production of meat, animals and eggs, the livestock program plays an important educational role for the College, providing students and visitors a chance to connect with livestock and understand the inclusion of meat animals in the food supply. The livestock are also integrated into the sustainability picture of the broader farmstead. Cattle and sheep graze temporary pastures planted in resting vegetable production fields, providing manure nutrients and weed management. Winter manure from the cattle and sheep pens is composted for use as fertilizer on the vegetable farm.
Work Environment &Program Structure:
The Livestock Team Leader will be part of a team of one seasonal apprentice and 2 part time student helpers, supervised and supported by the farm manager. They will work alongside a team of 10 young people in the organic vegetable operation (the overall farm team in summer is about 16 people).
Responsibilities of the Livestock Team Leader will include:
- Supervision or execution of daily livestock care (pasture moves, feeding, water, health checks)
- Leading livestock crew in periodic sheep health maintenance (hoof care, body condition and parasite screening, treatment as needed).
- Lambing and calving assistance as needed
- Extra care for animals with veterinary health issues
- Supervision or execution of fence maintenance duties
- Record keeping: pasture moves, births, deaths, veterinary care notes
- Meat sales: managing meat inventory, online store and packing orders
- Machine operation: tractor loader for hay and manure, four-wheeler for daily chores, weedwacker for fence maintenance, shop tools for equipment maintenance.
- Organizing team members to cover weekend animal care
- May also assist with compost and biofuels operations as time permits
Training and overall supervision will be provided by the livestock farm manager. Additional study through reading and research on your own time is encouraged but not required. The farm has an extensive library of useful farming books on many topics that will be available upon request. A handful of off-farm educational experiences will be provided throughout the season. The farm is part of an extensive network of local livestock and vegetable producers – opportunities to connect with others in the field are plentiful throughout the season.
Work Ethic and Culture of the Dickinson Farm:
Success in any business, but especially agriculture is dependent on hustle, efficient workflow, and attention to detail from all participants. The College Farm management team love the work that they do and find beauty and joy on the farm nearly every day. Yet they have learned through experience that achieving good harvests and a healthy agroecosystem requires constantly pushing themselves to be faster, smarter, and more organized.
The Dickinson College Farm sets ambitious goals for vegetable and livestock production and health, as well as for a diversity of education and outreach programming. Meeting these goals will require all team members to pay attention to details, think about efficiency of movement, and push themselves to develop effective systems for completion of tasks in a timely manner. For some jobs there is no “waiting for tomorrow”, yet we all prefer to stop work at a reasonable hour, so prioritizing and time management are important skills to develop. Team Leader candidates should be prepared to be push themselves to be speedy yet maintain the attention to detail required for livestock health and security.
Work Requirements & qualifications:
The basic “work and learn” day is 40 hours per week, from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday thru Friday, with one hour for lunch (times may adjust seasonally or to accommodate weather). Each Monday afternoon in the summer, employees partake in a farm meeting and educational program. A separate meeting between the crew leaders, apprentices, and managers will occur each week to go over farm to-do lists, provide management training and discuss any other pertinent matters.
Livestock require daily care on weekends and holidays – this responsibility will be shared among all trained team members including the livestock crew leader, students, resident apprentices and the farm manager. During lambing and calving season there may be some odd hours required to deal with anomalies arising. Any hours worked outside of the normal Monday – Friday work week will be compensated with time off- flexibility is encouraged.
The ideal Team Leader will be energetic, dedicated to the farm mission, and present with an upbeat attitude on a daily basis. As a member of the management team, the Livestock Team Leader will support and help communicate farm policies in a professional manner with respect for all farm staff, students and volunteers.
A minimum of one season working on a farm with livestock is required. Experience supervising others, operating equipment, and relevant academic training are a plus. Training will be provided to supplement the applicant’s existing knowledge, skills and experience.
The Livestock Team Leader position typically maintains a 40 hour per week work schedule, Monday through Friday. In addition to earning a competitive hourly pay wage, food raised on the farm, including free produce and free or discounted access to retail items such as meat and eggs will be made available. As a department of Dickinson College, College Farm staff also have free access to campus amenities like libraries, gyms, and events. Housing is not provided, but we will help applicants connect with suitable rental options in Carlisle or Boiling Springs.
Available Positions & Time Frame:
The Livestock Team Leader position is slated to begin in March and end in December with some flexibility possible to fit a successful applicant. Once the season is up and running, the position is encouraged to take one week of paid vacation, as well as the occasional long weekend when personal needs arise and the farm schedule permits. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis – the position will be filled by the first qualified applicant.
To apply, submit an informal cover letter and resume describing your relevant experience, reason for applying and personal aspirations for the 2022 season and beyond. Email application materials to email@example.com.
For additional information about the Dickinson College Farm and Livestock Team Leader position, please contact Matt Steiman at firstname.lastname@example.org