Monday, July 25, 2016

Wondernut Farm dairy intern/caretaker position available
Wondernut Farm is located on 38 off-grid acres in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, just west of Yosemite National Park. While in the initial stages of development and using an “everything at once” approach, we’re developing a moderately mechanized food and energy production system with intentions of creating a resilient, fertile living space, while also striving to educate, build community, and foster very small scale economic development. Now in our third year on the ground, we've established a 30+ head sheep and goat dairy (and its preliminary fencing, milking, and handling systems), developed a pastured heritage pig breeding operation, constructed an assortment of funky sleeping and storage structures, cultivated 2/3 of an acre of fruits and veggies for our hungry selves, planted 90 fruit and nut trees on home-constructed bioswales, installed initial PV solar electrical and gravity fed water systems, cleared 10 acres of pasture land using pigs, sheep, goats and saws, and generally had a blast doing it all. Conditions here are somewhat primitive but becoming more civilized by the day.
We're looking for the right candidate to begin as an intern in mid-August, working alongside our dairy manager learning the ins and outs of the sheep and goat dairy. Then, while the manager works abroad from late September until early March, the intern-turned-dairy caretaker will oversee daily animal chores and be responsible for the general health and welfare of our growing herd of spirited ruminants. Daily chores include feeding, hand milking (between 8 and 11 ewes and does), moving and maintaining electric fences and rotating the animals on pasture. The caretaker will also be responsible for breeding several of the girls, monitoring and addressing health concerns of individual animals as necessary, and dealing with miscellaneous small plumbing or carpentry repairs. He or she may occasionally be responsible for the twice daily feeding of our pigs, though this task will be shared with other farm inhabitants. On average chores should take 3-4 hours a day, but often will take more, depending on fencing, health, or other needs as they arise. Once chores are complete, the caretaker can spend the rest of the day participating in as much or little in farm life as he or she wishes. Opportunities for projects abound, either autonomously or working closely with others: helping in the garden or in the kitchen (cooking, cheesemaking, fermenting, etc), on various construction tasks, and/or relaxing and working on projects of their own. Other farm-dwellers will be available for support with physical tasks and occasionally might be able to cover a milking session or evening feeding, but in general the caretaker should expect to be busy for a few hours every morning and at least an hour every evening, 7 days a week.
Prior experience with animal care and husbandry is strongly preferred, and a serious commitment to the health and well-being of the herd and the land is a must. Familiarity with or a strong interest in pasture, dairy, and cheesemaking all serve the applicant well. The ideal candidate is diligent, dynamic, positive, creative, flexible, open, happy, well-adjusted, handy and hard working. Attention to detail and a love of animals is necessary, and since winters here are unpredictable, real fortitude and a willingness to take on possibly challenging conditions will go a long way. Fitness is important, familiarity with tools is useful and a history of having done hard physical work is preferred. Solid communication skills are absolutely required - we’ll do our best to be straightforward and open, and expect the same. Our dairy manager will provide as much support as possible through email and phone, but will be working remotely and won't always be available. We believe what we're building is quite special, and hope to meet others that share the same fundamental motivations as we do, and who desire to gain as much as possible from the experience of living and working with us.
From the end of September through February, the dairy caretaker will be paid a weekly stipend (negotiable with experience) plus free housing and reasonable fruits of the farm (milk, with some pastured pork and vegetables in exchange for helping in the garden and pig feeding).
Winters in the Sierra foothills are erratic and could be perfectly balmy or rainy and cold for weeks or months on end. Our kitchen and living room spaces are all outside under roof, and because the dairy facilities are outside as well, there will be plenty of days when hands and teats are chilly. That said, each winter has been more comfortable than the last, and the newly constructed caretaker cabin is a comfy and stunning vantage point for watching the seasons change and the grass turn green.
Farm or Business Name: Wondernut Farm
Location: 9301 Priest Coulterville Road, Big Oak Flat, [object HTMLSelectElement], 95305

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Farm Employee
Casa Rosa Farms
Capay Valley, California

Casa Rosa Farms is a diversified family farm producing pastured meats, eggs and certified organic olive oil. We farm 110 acres in the Capay Valley. Our family has been farming in the Central Valley since emigrating from the Azores in the 1960's. The third generation (Casa Rosa Farms) has been certified organic since 2009. We manage our livestock through a combination of seasonal grazing on native grasslands, intensive rotational grazing using small irrigated paddocks and growing forage crops for hay. We also produce other regionally appropriate orchard crops such as figs, pomegranates, pears, apricots on a micro scale for our farmer's markets. We also do a 1/4 acre market garden every summer. We are committed to renewable energy. Our warehouse cold room and freezers are powered by solar, and one of our ag wells is 100% direct solar powered. We raise Limousin (Lim-Flex) cattle, which respond very favorably to a grass fed feeding regime, producing lean, flavorful, and very tender meat with a high carcass yield (40 pairs, 2 bulls, 30 feeders per year). We also raise California Red Sheep (50 head) and pigs. We farrow three sows and raise a batch of pastured pigs each year. Every fall and spring, we do a large batch (500) of pasture raised poultry. This is in addition to our farming operations as far as irrigation, fencing, silage and hay.

We have two full time employees. This listing is to replace an employee that has had to leave abruptly due to illness in the family. Short term or long term welcome.

Primary Job Duties:

Irrigation, fencing, (electric, electric netting, high tensile, maintaining older barb wire, standard woven wire, all are used) animal care and feeding, raising 500 broiler chickens from August to October 1. Two farmer's markets weekly.

Become familiar with and understand multiple types of irrigation (Drip, micro-sprays, solid set, irripods) Be able to time irrigations and coordinate changes with farmer. Must occasionally be on call for weekends and nights ( no more than twice per month).

 Operate tools, equipment, and machinery according to prescribed safety procedures. Follow established safety procedures and techniques to perform job duties including lifting, climbing, etc. Correct unsafe conditions in work area and report any conditions that are not correctable to supervisor immediately.

Mental Demands/Physical Demands/Environmental Factors:
Moderate walking, standing, climbing, heavy lifting, carrying, stooping, bending, kneeling, and reaching. Work outside and inside, around moving objects, farm animals (cows, sheep, pigs, poultry), and with vehicles and machinery with moving parts. Frequent exposure to dampness and humidity, heat, animals and animal manure, exhaust fumes, gasoline, and diesel fuel.

40-60 hours per week, days are flexible. One weekend day per month required

Employee status with 30 day probationary period, 3 sick days per year per California regulations Pay starts at $10.00 per hour, annual raises commensurate with performance. Willing to pay $12 per hour for persons with more experience. Room and Board available (but you are not required to live on the farm) Learn how a small scale pasture based farm operates from the ground up.

 Educational Opportunities:

Irrigation installation, design and maintenance. Portable, drip and sprinkler irrigation systems are all in use on our farm. Animal care- health, immunizations, calving/lambing/farrowing. Possibly milking. Fencing- design and installation of perimeter and paddock cell fencing systems. Orchards- fertilization, pruning, harvesting. Opportunity to pursue personal side projects if desired. Small scale vegetable production, pastured poultry, spinning, dyeing, canning, etc. are all areas where a motivated person could pursue their own project to make extra income for themselves.

Work Experience/Skills/Desired Qualifications:
Valid California Drivers License Clean DMV printout.
No drugs, no excessive alcohol use (especially during work hours and while using common areas)
Must be able to regularly lift 60 lbs safely
Must be legal to work in the U.S.
Must be able to work unsupervised on a task and be attentive to detail while doing repetitive tasks Good communication and punctuality a must

Will train, but prior experience with farm animals (in some capacity) is required

Meals: Farm product is free, some bulk staples are provided as well. Separate housing (from the farmer's family) but with other employees, internet and other perks are included and are not deducted from the hourly wage.

Housing: Housing in a private cabin (bedroom) with access to employee residence "Barn" with kitchen, bath, TV, internet access, wood burning stove. Employees are responsible for keeping your home clean and tidy and ensuring that the WWOOFers and work-stay visitors understand the ground rules and also clean up after themselves. Employees are expected to help around the homestead (weedwhacking, basic gardening, harvesting, shopping, picking up mail, egg gathering for their own use, etc. when not on the clock) in exchange for room and board.
 We are willing to consider more than one applicant at this time. Please contact us at for more information (job description, employee handbook) or to apply. Please send resume or curriculum vitae in the body of your email. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Organic certification assistance

Helps farmers & processors afford the expense of organic certification

Cost Share helps farmers and processors afford the expense of organic certification by refunding up to 75 percent or $750 of their certification fees. (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Flickr/Creative Commons)
SACRAMENTO — The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced the availability of $2,180,870 for organic certification assistance to organic operations in California. Funds from the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) are available through CDFA’s State Organic Program (SOP) to help more organic operations succeed and take advantage of economic opportunities in this growing market.
Cost Share helps farmers and processors afford the expense of organic certification by refunding up to 75 percent or $750 of their certification fees. Cost Share funds are available to any eligible organic operation in California that has received or renewed organic certification between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016.
The SOP administers the Cost Share program in California, and is responsible for reviewing and approving cost share applications. The SOP then works with the State Controller’s Office to process funds for the issuance of reimbursement checks to the organic operations. In addition, the SOP collaborates with accredited certifying agents to ensure that cost share resources are available to their clients and information is posted on their respective certifier websites.
The deadline for submitting Cost Share applications to CDFA is October 31, 2016. Applications must be postmarked by this date.
The following are needed to complete a Cost Share application:
• A copy of an organic certification document.
• Copies of all associated organic certification and inspection expense receipts.
• Please contact a certifier if you do not have the above documents.
• Completed and signed CDFA Cost Share Application. The applications can be mailed, emailed, or faxed to CDFA.
• Completed Payee Data Record (STD. 204) form. (Name on this form must match the name on the Cost Share application).
To apply, go to the CDFA website, and download the Cost Share application packet/documents. Send the completed, signed application to CDFA with all supporting documentation listed above.
Applications are approved on a “first received, first approved” basis. Incomplete applications will be returned and the application process will need to be started again.
Applications must be sent to CDFA. Do not send the application to your certifier. Mail applications to:
California Department of Food and Agriculture
State Organic Program
Cost Share Reimbursement
ATTN: Sharon Parsons
1220 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Please allow 6-8 weeks for the completion of the Cost Share process. For additional information or assistance, please contact Sharon Parsons at (916) 900-5202 or by email at
—California Department of Food and Agriculture