Robinette Farms is a diversified small-scale family farm located in Martell, Nebraska, just 15 minutes from the capital city of Lincoln. We grow over 80 varieties of vegetables on about 5 acres, raise hens for eggs, have a small flock of Katadhin sheep, raise pigs each season and keep honeybees. Robinette Farms markets our produce and meats to a 150 member Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program, the Old Cheney Road Farmers' Market, and a handful of local restaurants. All of our goods are grown or raised using organic and sustainable methods, but we are not currently certified organic.
The purpose of our Apprenticeship at Robinette Farms is to provide real life training for future small-scale farmers. Our goal is that Apprentices could leave here with enough basic experience to start their own operation at some level. The Apprenticeship requires long hours and hard work on a daily basis, but also provides the experience of learning the ins and outs of farming. Apprentices will receive in the field training and first hand details of managing a small diversified farm. We are looking for highly motivated people who will work quickly and smartly and who have the drive to learn all they can about starting a small farm.
Livestock Apprentice Job Description
We hire one apprentice to focus more on livestock, yet still work regularly with vegetables. The role of the Livestock Apprentice is to be the primary caregiver for the animals on the farm. Time will be split between livestock care and working with the Farm Apprentices. The Livestock Apprentice will be the primary person responsible for animal care: feeding, watering, moving animals and mobile coops, fencing, egg collecting and washing, bedding changes, cleaning stalls, etc.
We are looking for a self-motivated individual who has a strong interest in livestock on a small, commercial scale and who is comfortable working independently and working with animals in a farm setting. Previous experience as an intern or farm worker is desired. Previous experience working with animals is also desired.
The Livestock Apprentice position begins in mid-February and lasts through the end of October. Our Livestock Apprentice can expect to work anywhere between 20-65 hours per week, fluctuating with the seasons. Lambing season begins in mid to late April and can be a very busy time for the Livestock Apprentice, including longer hours and odd hours (evening, night, and early morning).
Time will be split between livestock work and working with the crew in the vegetable fields and greenhouses for harvesting, weeding and other various projects. Some days may be focused heavily on animals and some may be focused on vegetables depending on the time of year. The Livestock Apprentice will often work alone, and must be able to be productive independently and as part of the entire crew.
Goals for the Livestock Apprentice for the 2014 growing season are to work daily with all animals on our farm: sheep, llama, pigs, laying hens and draft horses. We would like to expand our offerings and include broiler chickens into our rotations on the farm.
Second Year Apprentice Opportunity
Each season there is an opportunity available for one current apprentice to stay on at the end of the season for another full year of work at Robinette Farms. The Second Year Apprentice starts immediately after the Apprenticeship ends on October 31st and works through the winter and following growing season (through Oct. 31st). This provides the Second Year Apprentice with the opportunity to realize the continuity of working at one farm for more than one season, it provides a better understanding of the seasonal nature of farm work and it also allows for that Apprentice to become more proficient at farming.
All employees have a one month Trial Period where their performance is evaluated based on defined standards provided when work begins. During the Trial Period, the monthly stipend for all new employees is $500. At the conclusion of the Trial Period, each employee meets with the Farmers to review their performance and ensure that the position is a good fit for everyone. If the employee is retained, the monthly stipend will increase depending on position, experience and performance.
*Please note: Farming is a lifestyle and will likely never make you rich. We work long, hard, physical hours in all conditions. The Trial Period is intended to give new employees some perspective on what they’ve gotten themselves into, as well as provide a formal opportunity for the Farmers to evaluate their progress.
Compensation and Benefits
After the Trial Period, the Livestock Apprentice receives a monthly stipend of $600 (subject to taxes). Payday is the last Friday of each month. Workers’ Compensation is provided, which covers medical bills and lost income from work-related injuries, but no other benefits are offered.
Shared housing is provided with a private furnished bedroom and shared bathroom, kitchen and living space. Electric, internet, laundry facilities and wood for heating are provided.
The Livestock Apprentice has access to farm produce, eggs and some meat (at a discounted price) when available throughout the season.
Qualifications for Livestock Apprentice
We are looking for a reliable, responsible and hardworking individual who is able to follow instructions and work independently. The right candidate will often work alone, and must be able to be productive independently and as part of the entire crew.
Applicants must have good communication skills, be independently motivated, and work at a fast, high-quality pace.
A minimum of one completed season as an intern (or staff) on a similar farm is ideal. Previous experience with animals is necessary.
Applicants must be available to begin work in mid-February and commit to staying through the end of October.
Excellent people skills, initiative, and the physical ability to work daily with hands, wrists, knees and back, and to lift 50 pounds regularly are required.
The Livestock Apprentice should expect to work outside in all weather conditions including rain, snow and daily summer heat of 90-100 degrees under humid conditions.
Requirements for Livestock Apprentice
A strong desire to farm and live the farming lifestyle is required and absolutely essential to success as an Apprentice and in farming!
A valid driver’s license. Ability to drive a manual (stick) transmission. Experience pulling a variety of trailers is preferred.
A vehicle for personal transportation (we are 15 miles from downtown Lincoln).
We cannot house pets or partners on the farm.
No smoking on the farm. Tobacco carries a virus that kills tomatoes, peppers and other crops!
Sorry, this position is not available for the 2014 season.