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Production Manager Sweetland Farm

  • Date Posted October 18, 2017
  • Location Norwich, VT
  • Category Agriculture
  • Job Type Full-Time
Company Description Sweetland Farm is a diversified family farm in Norwich, Vermont owned and operated by head farmer Norah Lake. Started in 2012 on conserved prime agricultural soils on the banks of the Ompompanoosuc River, Sweetland currently crops 8-10 acres of sustainably grown vegetables. Our vegetable production supplies a 150-member CSA, a weekly summer farmers' market, and several restaurant wholesale accounts. The rest of the 200 acres of farmland consist of actively managed hay fields, pastures for livestock, a young orchard, and perennial fruit and vegetable crops. In the course of the next few years on the land we will be growing our CSA business to 200+ members, increasing wholesale markets, bringing new land into production, expanding our hay-making capacity, and increasing our pastured meat production. The mission at Sweetland Farm is to feed our community and our soil, and to be stewards of this beautiful farmland. We hope you’ll join us!

Sweetland’s CSA offers weekly shares of delicious, fresh, sustainably grown produce. In addition to growing, harvesting and carefully washing over 100 varieties of vegetables for our shareholders and restaurant accounts, we offer a beautiful pick-your-own flower and herb garden, access to our fields and trails for self-guided visits, and annual shareholder events like potluck dinners in the barn, music in the fields, and educational farm tours. Our shareholders receive produce from Mid-May through Mid-October, for a total of 22 weeks. Our goal is for Sweetland to be a hub of food, fun and learning in the local community. 

While we have decided for practical and philosophical reasons not to file the annual paperwork for an organic certification, in practice we grow all of our vegetables without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. We are members of NOFA-VT and attend their annual organic growers conference. The goal of our agricultural practices is to build the living biodiversity of our soils, to grow healthy, nutrient-rich food for our community, and to encourage and work within the complex ecosystem around us. We encourage you to ask us more about our growing practices!

Sweetland farm is a thriving, diverse family farm in the Upper Valley. We are dedicated to maintaining a working landscape that sustainably integrates vegetable production, pastured animals, pollinators, perennials, and natural ecosystems. Our fields and pastures produce fresh, healthy, nutritious, naturally grown vegetables, fruits, and meat for our local community. We are seeking a Production Manager to join our team and add skills, knowledge and energy to our toolbelt.

Job Description

PRODUCTION MANAGER
We are seeking a highly motivated and responsible individual with significant diversified farming experience who will work closely with the head farmer to ensure the success of our farm business. The Production Manager will take lead roles in greenhouse work, vegetable planting, cultivation and harvest for our CSA, as well as animal care, pasture management, chicken processing, orchard care, and hay production. The Production Manager is an essential part of our core farm team and is expected to think and work like a professional farmer; attention to detail, an efficient and strong work ethic, the ability to identify and carry out big-picture projects, the skills to operate and maintain a range of tractors and implements, an inquisitive nature about improved methods, great communication skills, and the capacity to operate with autonomy or effectively lead a small crew are essential attributes.
 

The Production Manager must have familiarity with a range of diversified farm systems, plant and animal physiology, and soil fertility. Minimum 2 years experience of vegetable production, including tractor driving and implement use, especially mechanical cultivating. Proficiency in basic mechanical and carpentry skills. Crew leading experience. Strong organizational and interpersonal skills. Must be able to lift 50 pounds and drive a manual transmission. The successful Production Manager will embrace the varied and intense work of a diversified farm, have an insurmountably positive attitude, communicate well with a small, close-knit team, work closely with the head farmer to implement a production plan, and be able to manage production pressure and crew dynamics during the height of the growing season.
 

Job Details and Responsibilities

The Production Manager is responsible for a working knowledge and supervisory/lead role of the following:

  • Greenhouse care; mixing potting soil, making soil blocks, seeding/potting on, watering, fertility management, pest scouting, organization, hardening off, record keeping
  • Field seeding & transplanting; prepping beds (rototilling, laying plastic, spreading fertilizer, laying drip tape), use of 1-row Jang or Earthway hand seeder, handling/planting fragile seedlings, use of waterwheel transplanter, watering in, methods of crop-rotation plan/field maps/cover cropping, record-keeping
  • Cultivation; hand (scuffle hoes, hand-weeding) and mechanical (basket weeder, flame weeder, tine weeder, sweeps).
  • Tractor work; equipment hookup, adjustment and use of implements (disc harrow, chisel plow, rotovator, basket weeder, tine weeder, sweeps, brush hog, mower conditioner, tedder, hay rake, baler, bucket/forks on loader, etc)
  • Fertility analysis and implementation of nutrient management plan (includes use/application of fertilizers, compost/manure, and seasonal cover crops)
  • Harvest, wash and pack/display; proper handling of harvested crops in field and processing, attention to detail/quality control
  • Animal care; portable electric fence setup and trouble-shooting, maintaining permanent fences, feeding/watering livestock, monitoring for health, administering medicine or basic vet care as needed
  • Chicken slaughter/processing (once a month on farm June-October, roughly 130 birds/batch)
  • Training, overseeing and motivating field crew, volunteers and interns
Compensation this position is PAID: hourly, varies DOE, $11.00 - $20.00 How to apply Please click here to sign in and view application details.
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