Weathertop Farm LLC
Last Updated On: abril 27th, 2023 at 08:29AM MST
Contact informationFarm Address:
963 Eanes Rd NE
Check, Virginia, 24072
Primary Contact: Sarah Shannon
Secondary Contact: Cedric Shannon
Internship informationGeneral Farm Description: Weathertop Farm is a family-owned and operated farm located on about 200 acres in scenic Floyd County, Virginia, just a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, and only 14 miles from the Town of Floyd, renowned for a thriving art, music, and local food scene. We are dedicated to holistic regenerative agriculture through multi-species rotational grazing and intensive management. No antibiotics or hormones are used, and all livestock eat from pasture that is free of pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers. Any supplemental feed we use is non-GMO and locally sourced. Our diverse business includes raising and selling pastured chickens, eggs, pigs, lamb, turkeys, and cattle. In contrast to homestead or other non-profit operations, we are a for-profit business, therefore all facets of our farm must work together to enhance the whole business. We do the bulk of our sales direct-to-consumer here at the farm, another large portion through farmers markets, and a limited amount of wholesale to local food stores. Daily farm work and life at Weathertop shifts with the seasons. In addition to daily animal care we also do all our own poultry processing here on the farm. That involves chicken processing on average once per week from June-October, as well as several days of turkey butchering in October and November. The hogs, sheep and steers all have assigned dates with the butcher, which involves catching and transport to & from the various processors. In our freezers, we maintain a fairly large inventory of meats which we take to farmers markets and sell here at the farm. Our farm team is composed owner-farmers, Sarah & Cedric, along with 5-6 employees in apprentice and manager positions, as needs dictate. Additionally, our farm encompasses a diverse multi-generational community of family, friends, neighbors and visitors, from grandparents to young children, all of whom participate with the farm at various times and in varying degrees, so patience, flexibility and understanding are a must. We care a great deal about our farm community. We value diversity and equality and welcome anyone who is kind and conscientious to apply to join our team. Couples welcome. Overview of Weathertop Farm Enterprises: *Laying hens: 2 flocks of 500-600 hens each, rotated to 2 new flocks each year (overlapping for summer months). *Broiler chickens: 10 batches of 600 each, arriving at the farm as chicks every 2 weeks beginning in April. Poultry processing runs early June through mid-October. *Turkeys: About 500 turkeys raised each year for Thanksgiving (August – November). *Hogs: 10 sows in 2 groups that farrow twice each year. All hogs are born, raised and finished here on the farm. *Sheep: About 60 Katahdin ewes, lambing each year in May. All lambs born, raised and finished (100% grassfed) here on our farm. *Cattle: We finish about 20 head each year, brought in as weened calves at around 5-6 months old, and raised 100% on grass, sold at around 2 years old.
CRAFT Member Farm? No
Internship Starts: March, April, May
Internship Ends: 12/15/2023 (potential for futher employment for the right person)
Number of Internship Available: 3
Application Deadline: rolling
Minimum Length of Stay: 7-10 months (March or April to mid-Dec)
Weathertop Farm accepts 5-6 farm-hand-apprentices each year for the duration of our season (Mar -Dec). We’re looking for folks interested and passionate about regenerative agriculture and pasture management in particular.
Apprentices can expect to learn what it’s like to run a multi-species poultry and livestock grazing operation first-hand by actively participating in the daily work of the farm. We also try to give you an idea of the bigger picture of how we plan for the year and how a pasture-based system operates. You can expect to have a lot of conversations about farming and related issues, and ample opportunity to ask whatever questions you have. Through this experience you can gain an understanding of the daily ups and downs and ins and outs of a farming season, and because of the diverse range of tasks we require help with (from raising animals to butchering to sales & marketing) we hope you would gain an understanding of how the diverse multi-species grazing operation of our farm is integrated into one business and functions as a whole. Apprentices must be ready to work hard doing manual labor in all kinds of weather. We expect apprentices to put in approximately 40-60 hours per week, depending on farm schedule and season. One day off per week, (may not always be the same day), some afternoons. Up to 10 vacation days can be worked into the schedule but must be planned in advance.
You can expect to work alongside the farmers for some tasks, and independently for others. We strive to maintain a healthy and clean environment for out team and as such have a strict no smoking and no illegal drugs policy. There is no public transportation in our rural community and so having your own vehicle is a plus, though not required.
Each apprentice will rotate through all areas of the farm. Work will include but is not limited to:
- Daily care of animals (work closely with livestock: hens, broilers, turkeys, hogs, cattle, sheep)
- Collecting & cleaning eggs
- Handling feed in 50-lb sacks on a daily basis
- Operating tractor and mower
- Daily portable-electric-fence moving
- Frequent set-up/moving of portable housing, hoses, fences, etc., for all animal groups
- Daily pasture-pen moving for broilers (some by hand, some by tractor)
- Participating in daily farm team meetings
- Keeping track of animal movement on the grazing chart
- On-farm poultry processing (averaging once/week June-Nov); participation is mandatory
- Assisting in set-up of trailers for catching/sorting animals
- Occasional building & maintenance projects
- Deliveries to local businesses
- Farmers markets (Saturdays & Wednesdays) apprentice involvement on occasion
- Handling on-farm sales
- Keeping each work area clean and organized
- Miscellaneous tasks may involve, but are not limited to: composting, mowing, cleaning out bedding from brooder & hoop-houses, driving to mill for feed pick-up and unloading, etc.
- Read all information on Apprentice Page of our website.
- Complete the Apprentice Application (also available on website).
- If your application is selected for further consideration, please keep in mind that that we will require an on-farm visit as proximity allows. Since an apprenticeship at Weathertop Farm involves working, living, and socializing in close proximity, we feel it is important that we meet face-to-face so all of us can get a sense of people and place.
- Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Educational Opportunities: Group farm classes: We aim to hold a class about once every week or every two weeks, depending on the season. Classes start with lunch, and discussions are prefaced by a variety of short readings or videos to spur conversation. We focus on a wide range of topics related to farming and symbiotic issues. Classes alternate between practical how-to classes & more theoretical discussions, in which Farmer Cedric delves into his passion which combines philosophy & farming. When possible, we do our best to cater class offerings to individual preference and interest. Additional Opportunities: *Access to our farm library, including some recommended readings and podcasts *Visit with other farms & alternative food systems in Floyd *Occasional workshops, lectures, films, conferences offered in the Floyd area *farming conference, when possible
Skills Desired: Skills and qualities that are required: *Ability to do manual labor (e.g. lifting and moving a lot of 50 lb feed sacks) *Enthusiasm, flexibility, and tenacity *Ability and willingness to follow directions and ask questions *Cooperation in working with others *Individual initiative *Patience both with yourself and others *Comfortable around animals *Good physical health and fitness (lots of walking, lifting, climbing over fences, etc) *Perseverance through adverse weather (heat, cold, rain, mud, etc) *Willingness to work some weekends and holidays in summer season *Commitment to the entire season *No firearms and no illegal drugs. *No smoking or vaping within farm buildings or living facilities or during work hours. *Not distracted by personal technology (cell phone, etc.) during workday Skills/details that are a plus but not required: *Previous farming experience *Basic carpentry or mechanical skills *Comfortable driving (or learning to drive) tractors, manual-gear truck, large delivery van *Comfortable or experienced in a sales setting and interacting with customers
Meals: Monday through Friday, we eat lunch together as a team—Farmers Sarah and Cedric, apprentices, and managers. Other family and friends may sometimes join, as well. Sometimes apprentices will be invited to dinner with advance notice. All other meals you will be responsible for yourself. You will have access to food that is grown on the farm. When we have time we enjoy growing a garden and sharing the produce between the team. Please be aware that since we are in the business of raising and selling meat, our farm-raised protein is a staple of our diet, and we are unable to accommodate vegan diets.
Stipend: $1,000/month, with an additional $1,000 upon completion of the season in December.
Housing: Provided: Shared 2-bedroom apartment or shared 4-bedroom house. Both housing options come with individual bedrooms, full kitchen and bath (including composting toilet), washer/dryer, heating, WiFi. All utilities included. Basic furnishings provided.
Preferred method of Contact: email