Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Beginning Farming Academy

April 10th & 11th, 2015
UC Cooperative Extension Placer/Nevada, Dewitt Center, Auburn, CA
This is a 2-day intensive introduction to starting a small commercial farm or ranch. If you are considering starting a small ag operation in the foothills, you should attend the Academy. Learn about assessing your resources and choosing products, the basics of market-driven farming and basic economic tools. You will finish with an action plan for jump-starting your operation.
This workshop does not address production practices, but focuses on market, business, and economic planning for small farms. Local expert farmers and ranchers and UCCE Farm Advisors will help you refine your plans for your farm or ranch.
The class runs from 8 AM to 8 PM on April 10th, and 8 AM to 5 PM on April 11th. Meal cost for the two days is $70.
The class is limited to 15 prospective producers. Apply on-line at http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=14947
For questions or more information, please contact Cindy Fake at cefake@ucanr.edu

Monday, March 2, 2015

Say Hay Farms is Hiring!

Farmer Positions Available
Say Hay Farms
Yolo County, California


Say Hay Farms is a five-year old certified organic farm in Yolo County, CA. We currently raise a diversity of vegetables on more than 20 acres plus 800 laying hens, 5 acres of almonds, and an acre of oranges for providing high quality produce to our CSA, farmers’ market, and wholesale customers in the Sacramento Valley and San Francisco Bay Area. 

We are a people-focused farm intent on providing a great workplace for serious and skilled farmers.  We do not have a separate harvest crew and management.  Instead, our small size allows us to focus on leveraging each person’s unique skills while sharing the responsibility of harvest, marketing, and day-to-day management of the farm. 

This is a lively and exciting time on our farm.  This year, we are expanding to 50 acres and moving our base of operations, including building a new packing facility, expanding the chicken operation, and designing new equipment and workflows – all in the midst of our daily farm life. 

We are seeking seasoned farmers to join our tight crew and help us grow.   We still have two positions available: 

JOB DESCRIPTION – FULL TIME FARMER

Activities include:
  • Harvest, wash, pack and grade crops for our CSA, farmers’ markets, and wholesale customers.
  • Transplant crops.
  • Cultivate and weed crops.
  • Basic irrigation using buried drip and sprinkler pipes.
  • Raise and care for laying hens – including feeding, monitoring, cleaning coops plus collecting, washing, and packing eggs.
  • Drive box trucks, pickups, and small tractors in our fields, between properties, and when making deliveries in busy cities. 
  • Educate our customers and provide a first-class experience when participating in sales and deliveries.
  • Light construction.
  • Actively help to improve our systems as we grow into a new space.

Desired Skills & Qualifications
  • Two or more years experience on a production vegetable farm, including harvest duties.  This includes repetitive heavy lifting of up to 50 pounds.
  • Demonstrated understanding of vegetable crops and/or chickens.
  • A natural ability to hustle, move quickly, and enjoy working hard.
  • A desire to understand the economics of small farming.  Experience a plus.
  • Team player with a positive attitude and good sense of humor who can also work independently.
  • Ability to assess, plan, and organize.
  • Basic mechanical skill necessary to operate vehicles, tractors, and farm equipment.
  • Willing to make a 2-year commitment.

Compensation
The Farmer position is salaried and competitive, with 2 weeks of vacation.  The average workweek is 55 hours, more in the summer, less in the winter. 


JOB DESCRIPTION – PART TIME FARMER

Activities include:
  • Harvest, wash, pack and grade crops for our CSA, farmers’ markets, and wholesale customers.
  • Transplant crops.
  • Cultivate and weed crops.
  • Raise and care for laying hens – including feeding, monitoring, cleaning coops plus collecting, washing, and packing eggs.

Desired Skills & Qualifications
  • Some experience on a production vegetable farm, including harvest duties.  This includes repetitive heavy lifting of up to 50 pounds.
  • A natural ability to hustle, move quickly, and enjoy working hard.
  • A desire to understand the economics of small farming.
  • Team player with a positive attitude and good sense of humor who can also work independently. 

Note we are willing to waive experience for the part time position for people who show promise to excel on a small production farm.  There is the possibility for year-round full-time work for those who work well. 

Compensation 
The Part Time Farmer position is paid hourly compensation DOE, with accrued sick leave and vacation.  The average workweek is three 10-hour days.

HIRING PROCESS 
  • Email a resume highlighting your field experience and indicating for which position you are applying to sayhayfarms@gmail.com.
  • Answer the question, “Why do you want to work at a small farm like Say Hay Farms?” and give a brief description of your agricultural career goals.
  • A timeline of your availability.
  • Please include 2 references. 

If your application seems like a good fit, we will contact you to schedule a phone interview.  After that, we ask for a field trail day.  For this reason, local applicants are prioritized. 

If offered a position, we have a 60-day probationary period that is hourly wage.  At the end of 60 days, we will mutually assess whether you are a good fit for a salaried position on our team.

The full time position is a unique, excellent opportunity for those who have owned a small farm or would like to own a small farm and appreciate the economic difficulty of fresh-market organic farming to join a team of skilled professionals who love what we do.

The part time position is a great opportunity for those with less experience who show natural ability to learn field skills from an experienced, fun group of professionals. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Invitation to Sustainable Small Farm Summit, Mar 18-21, [FREE & ONLINE]

Join other farmers on March 18-21 for the upcoming FREE online Sustainable Small Farm Summit, an exciting gathering of 18 farmers and activists who are coming together to share valuable insights into the often neglected business side of farming. The goal is to support new farmers and people transitioning into farming to become even more effective at creating financially viable farms. New farmers, wanna-be farmers & farmer-curious people- join this webinar!


If you haven’t done so yet, click here to register for free. It’s best to do this now, so you can see the schedule and mark the sessions you’d like to attend. Registering also gives you access to 48-hour free replays. Yes, there will be an OPTIONAL upgrade package available for purchase if the 4 days of free interviews leave you wanting more.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Soil Born Farms is seeking full-season farm apprentices for the 2015 season!!!

The apprenticeship runs from March 3 to October 31.

The goal of the apprenticeship program at Soil Born Farms is to provide training for aspiring farmers by teaching the basic concepts and practical applications of organic food production.  At Soil Born Farms, organic food production is a piece of the broader work of the organization, tying food systems into the larger social issues of food security, social justice, and public and ecological health.

This full-time apprenticeship is designed for people who want to pursue a career in sustainable “specialty crop production” or mixed fruit and vegetable farming.  Interested applicants can apply with an intention to participate in only the first-year apprenticeship, but the ideal candidate will be interested in pursuing the second-year apprenticeship as well.  Apprentices are exposed to all aspects of food production through hands-on field work (40-45 hours/week), formal classes on sustainable crop production farm business skills (30-35 hours total), monthly readings and discussions, and monthly regional farm tours.  Three positions are available each season for Second-Year Apprentices, taking on increased responsibility at either the American River Ranch or the Farm on Hurley Way. 

Required Qualifications:
     Ability to commit to a full-time eight-month apprenticeship, from March through October.  Late arrivals will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
     Commitment to sustainable agriculture
     Strong interest in pursuing a career in farming or community food systems
     Interest in working in a physically-demanding position in all kinds of weather
     Ability to lift at least 50 lbs.

Preferred Qualifications:
     An interest in pursuing a career in sustainable agriculture in the Sacramento region
     Some experience working or volunteering on farms and/or doing outdoor manual labor

Housing & Compensation:
10’x10’ canvas platform tents with access to kitchen, living room and bathroom shared between the five apprentices.  Apprentices will receive a stipend for a portion of the hours worked on the farm.  Staff eat together daily during the work week to eat a prepared lunch.  Apprentices will also receive food from the farm (vegetables, eggs, etc) and a stipend for supplementary food.

Start date: March 3, 2015

More information and application available at:

Contact apprenticeship@soilborn.org with questions.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hi friends and gardeners:

Our Intermediate Home Gardener course is launching this weekend, and it’s going to be amazing!  Focusing on garden ecology, perennials, and creating a healthy, diverse garden to increase your bounty and make your thumb greener, it’s a great excuse to spend Saturday mornings at this beautiful farm with your hands in the soil.

We want to fill this course, but we have a ways to go!  Would you help us by forwarding this to the gardeners in your life? 


Thank you so much, and happy gardening!

Sarah Barnes
Education Coordinator
Soil Born Farms Urban Agriculture & Education Project

Farmers and ranchers have until February 27 to sign up for nation’s largest federal conservation program!


February 3, 2015, Washington, DC – With a February 27 deadline approaching, farmers and ranchers in California have only a few weeks to apply to enroll in the federal Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

CSP rewards producers for the conservation and environmental benefits they produce on their working agricultural lands; all private agricultural land, including cropland, pasture, and rangeland, is eligible to enroll in CSP.  For example, CSP contract-holding farmers can receive payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, rotational grazing, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and the transition to organic farming.

Details on this year’s program are available for free in an Information Alert published this  week by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.  Farmers and ranchers must submit initial applications to their local NRCS office by Feb 27 to have their applications considered for 2015.  Applications will be scored and ranked based on farmers’ current and planned on-farm conservation activities, and the applications offering the highest level of environmental benefits will be awarded CSP contracts.

CSP contract holders that enrolled in 2011 are now in the final year of their five-year contract and are therefore eligible to renew for another five years.  Initial requests to renew must be submitted to local NRCS offices by March 31.

CSP is the nation’s largest conservation program by acreage and is widely popular among farmers and ranchers.  Since the program began in 2009, nearly 70 million acres of farm and ranch land have been enrolled in the program.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Great Opportunity! Tell Your Story - Sell Your Products: Bay Area Market Tour for Farmers

Are you interested in selling your produce to wholesale buyers but not sure how? The produce distribution industry is mobilizing to meet consumer demand to “know your farmer” and needs well--prepared farmers to work with.

Join us on a tour of wholesale markets, retailers, and food hubs to meet buyers interested in supporting small farms. You’ll make valuable contacts, learn the requirements for wholesale-ready sales, and learn how to help your story travel with your products all the way from farm to fork. Tours are all day, with a light breakfast and lunch provided.


February 18, 2015: San Francisco Bay Area Markets
*This tour is specifically for Southeast Asian farmers in the Fresno area.
To register for the tour, contact Michael Yang,
UC Cooperative Extension Fresno County, (559) 241-7523 or myang@ucanr.edu
Tour stops will include: Pacific Rim Produce (wholesaler), San Francisco Specialty (distributor), Cal Dining (university food service), And more (retailer)

February 24, 2015: San Francisco Bay Area Markets
*North Bay growers can board the bus at several locations to be determined.
To register for the Bay Area tour, visit http://ucanr.org/bustour
Tour Stops will include: SF Wholesale Produce Market (several wholesalers and distributors), The FruitGuys, Cal Dining (university food service), And more (food hub)

Visit UC SAREP’s website for more information on the tour program and resources for selling wholesale
This tour is hosted by the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program and UC Cooperative Extension (Marin County and Fresno County).




See you on the bus!