Weathertop Farm LLC

Contact information
Farm Address:
963 Eanes Rd NE
Check, Virginia, 24072

Primary Contact: Sarah Shannon
Secondary Contact: Cedric Shannon

Primary Phone:
    Number: 540-739-4488

Secondary Phone
    Number: 540-651-2010


Internship information
General Farm Description: Weathertop Farm is a small family-owned and operated farm located on about 200 acres in Floyd County, VA, just a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, and only 14 miles from the town of Floyd, renowned for a thriving artist, music, and local food scene. Since our establishment in 2003 we remain dedicated to holistic regenerative agriculture through multi-species rotational grazing and intensive management. We are passionate about building and caring for the soil! No antibiotics or hormones are used, and all livestock eat from pasture that is free of pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers. Our diverse business includes raising and selling pastured chickens, laying hens, pigs, sheep, turkeys, cattle, and ducks. 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. Our daily farm life & work 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/week from June-Oct, several days of duck processing in the spring & fall, as well as several days of turkey butchering in Oct & Nov. The hogs, sheep & steers all have assigned dates with the butcher which involves catching and transport to and from the various processors. We maintain a fairly large inventory of meats in our freezers which we take to farmers markets and sell here at the farm. But the base of our farm life revolves around daily chores. These can be dull and repetitive but also act as a solid grounding which keeps us anchored to the land on one hand while allowing us to learn and grow from a strong foundation. Our farm is composed of our growing diverse family (Sarah, Cedric and kids), our farm managers (Taylor & Drew now in their 3rd year with us), in addition to various neighbors and extended family. Any of our grown children, their significant others, our extended family, and friends may stop by or lend a hand in varying ways. We get a lot of visitors throughout the year and enjoy having a diverse community or folks involved here with us. We care a great deal about our farm community and value diversity and equality and welcome anyone who is kind and conscientious to join our team!

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: May or June
Internship Ends: 12/15/2021
Number of Internship Available: 1 remaining
Application Deadline: rolling
Minimum Length of Stay: 6-7 months (May/June - Thanksgiving or mid-Dec)

Internship Details:

Weathertop Farm accepts 3 or 4 farm-hand-apprentices each year for the duration of our season. (options to start range from March to June). We’re looking for folks interested and passionate about regenerative agriculture and pasture management in particular.
Our base team is comprised of husband/wife owner farmers Cedric & Sarah, and our managers, Taylor & Drew. You may be answering to, or working alongside any one of them depending on the day or the task.
Apprentices can expect to learn about the nitty-gritty details of raising animals 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 40-50 hours a week on average, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the season and farm schedule. 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.

Daily work will include but is not limited to:
Routine daily care, feeding & watering of animals
Collecting & cleaning eggs
Portable-electric fence take down, moving & setup for steers & sheep
Frequent set-up/moving of portable housing, hoses, and other equipment
Set-up, moving & filling portable water tanks on trailers
Daily pasture-pen moving for broilers
keeping track of animal movements on the grazing chart
Handling animal feed in 50-lb sacks on a daily basis
On-farm poultry processing (averaging once/week June-Nov)
Deliveries to local businesses
Farmers markets (Saturdays & Wednesdays) apprentice involvement on occasion
On-farm sales
Other miscellaneous tasks may involve: composting, mowing, cleaning out bedding from brooder & hoop-houses, driving to mill for feed pick-up and unloading etc.

Educational Opportunities: Classes: When we have sufficient time and interest we enjoy holding group farm classes about once/week (less often in peak season Aug-Sept-Oct). Class discussions are prefaced by a variety of short readings or videos to spur the conversation. We focus on a wide range of topics related to farming & many symbiotic issues, with farmer Cedric typically delving into his passion for a combination of philosophy & farming. We aim for a balance of practical how-to classes as well. Opportunities for education -Access to our farm library along with some recommended reading assignments & classes. -Opportunity to learn the principals of managed pasture rotational grazing -Opportunity to learn poultry processing as well as marketing and sales -Chances to visit with other farms in Floyd -Possible occasional workshops in the area

Skills Desired: no previous farming experience necessary, but these are qualities we're looking for: -a positive attitude  -willingness to try new things -enthusiasm & flexibility -commitment to open communications -tenacity to stick with a task -personal initiative -cooperation for working with others -patience both with yourself and others -ability to follow directions  -ability to do manual labor   -basic carpentry or mechanical skills are a plus but not required -good people-person, comfortable in a sales setting & interacting with customers. -comfortable (or willing to learn) driving tractors, trailers, manual-gear truck, large delivery van. -not being distracted by personal technology (cell phone, etc) during the workday. -We give preference to those who can commit to the full season up through mid-December. Our farm encompasses a diverse multi-generational community of family, friends, neighbors & visitors, from grandparents down 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 and value diversity and equality and welcome anyone who is kind and conscientious to join our team. Although our farm is in a rural, mostly white county we are very welcoming to people identifying as BIPOC, LGBTQ, as well as folks of diverse cultures & backgrounds Couples also welcome to apply!

Meals: We welcome apprentices to join us for lunch daily, and sometimes for dinner, too, 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. However, please be aware that since we are in the business of raising & selling meat, our farm-raised protein is a staple of our diet, and we are unable to accommodate vegan diets.

Stipend: $750/monthDay(s) off: one day per week, could be alternating Saturdays/Sundays off, some afternoons, several vacation days can be worked into the schedule if planned in advance.

Housing: Housing provided: Shared 2-bedroom attic apartment with full kitchen, bath (including composting toilet) and washer/dryer. Furnished with the basics. All utilities, heating & WiFi included. To be shared by 2-4 apprentices.

Preferred method of Contact: email