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Dairy & Livestock Apprentice Swallowtail Farm

  • Date Posted July 31, 2020
  • Location Alachua, FL
  • Category Agriculture
  • Job type Full-Time
Company description

Swallowtail Farm is a young aspiring biodynamic farm entering its 12th season of growing.  Each season, from October through June we raise food for 100-200 families in our Community Supported Agriculture program.  We also work closely with Gainesville area chefs to distribute our food in local restaurants, and to donate food to families in need. Due to COVID, we have paused all events and festivals at the farm this season, however, we will still have the opportunity to offer apprentices learning opportunities through on-farm workshops, other regional farm visits, and specialization!

The farm is situated on some of the most beautiful land in Florida, on rolling hills of fertile pasture and forest. The land entire is 30 acres, and we cultivate about 7 acres of vegetables, herbs, flowers, perennials and fruit. We also manage about 8 acres as pasture for our livestock. We tend a flock of 200-400 animal welfare approved laying hens that are rotated on pasture behind our dairy cows. We have a mixed herd of animal welfare approved grass-fed jersey & dexter cows for milk & meat. We raise pigs for meat and rotate them through the forest regularly. 

Our long term goal is to cultivate the farm as a model of sustainable and appropriately-scaled agriculture and as a whole and self-sustaining organism, to make a positive contribution to our local food-shed, and to educate new & beginning farmers. 

Internship description

We are looking for the right person to join our livestock team. Our new team member will be responsible for the daily care of our grass-fed dairy herd and creamery operation. You will also be assisting with other animals on the farm including chickens (egg layers) and meat pigs, and possibly a small herd of sheep. You will be working primarily with another apprentice and our farm staff. Previous experience is preferred but not required.

Start Date: September 1, 2020 or until filled

You will be responsible for the following things:

Oversee Day-To-Day Herd Needs

Assume responsibility for day-to-day coordination of all aspects of our dairy production. Responsibilities include:

  • Care taking and monitoring the health of our herd

  • Feeding and watering dairy herd

  • Animal husbandry(breeding management, birthing assistance, calf feeding, minor medical care, and animal assessment)

  • Milking once or twice a day depending on time of season

  • Monitoring pasture growth to judge paddock size, plan rotations

  • Maintaining a clean and sanitary milking parlor

  • Loading animals onto the livestock trailer

  • Unloading hay and feed deliveries when they come in

  • Fence repairs and maintenance

  • Record keeping

  • Maintain Animal Welfare Approved standards

  • There is always something to be cleaned, problem solved, or fixed. It is never boring!

Creamery Work

Yogurt and cheesemaking will take place during the milking season. Responsibilities include:

  • Moving milk

  • Cleaning equipment

  • Record keeping

  • Yogurt making

  • Cheese making

  • Packaging

  • Packing products for markets

  • Maintain a clean, functional, and sanitary creamery space

  • Make sure all equipment and supplies are in stock

Pasture Raised Chickens

You will be working with other farm members to care for our flocks. Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with weekly chicken moves (with tractor)

  • Cleaning and packing eggs for markets and wholesale orders

  • Weekly feeding, watering, and coop cleaning

Forest Raised Pigs

You will be working with other farm members to care for our pigs. Responsibilities include:

  • Rotating our pigs through the forest with temporary electric fencing.

  • Occasional feeding and watering

Coordinate With Swallowtail Team

Coordinate with the Swallowtail Farm crew about animal health, product availability/inventory, pasture + animal conditions, and more. 


  • One full day off per week guaranteed, additional half days are likely

  • 8-9 hour work day, occasionally 11 hour days

  • You will receive 10 days vacation and 5 sick days to be used over the current season

  • Occasionally have to work holidays


  • Ideally, a strong desire to operate a farm of your own in the future

  • Valid drivers license and a good driving record

  • Capable of lifting large, heavy/bulky items up to 75 pounds

  • Adaptable to working outdoors in extreme weather conditions such as heat, humidity, and freezing temperatures

  • Love and respect for animals, people, and the planet

  • A strong desire to work with livestock, cows and dairy on a working farm

  • Willingness to teach and mentor others

  • Great attitude and patience

  • Open and clear communicator

  • Strong work ethic

  • Strong problem solving skills

  • Ability to multitask and learn new things quickly

  • Detail oriented, observant, and aware of surroundings

  • Respect for others’ unique personalities

  • Be comfortable working both in a team setting and alone

  • Accept critique, acknowledge mistakes and work to make ourselves better

  • Understand that this job entails a large degree of manual labor

  • Willing to live on the farm, housing is provided

  • Previous experience working with cows is not required but strongly preferred

  • Willingness to operate tractors and other farm equipment

  • Timeliness and professionalism

  • The ability to hustle

  • Any experience in tractor driving, livestock handling, chainsaw work, carpentry, record keeping, or any other relevant tasks are a plus!

Skills & Qualifications
  • Passionate about a career in farming

  • Able to lift and carry 50 lbs and work outside in adverse weather conditions

  • Patience, flexibility, strong communication and interpersonal skills

  • Current driver’s license and a solid driving record

  • Familiarity with power tools/carpentry a plus

  • Tractor familiarity a plus

  • Familiarity with large livestock animals a plus

Selection Process

Applications open until positions are filled.

Compensation this position is : stipend / non-monetary compensation
Details: $200 per month plus housing and benefits. Upon satisfactory completion of the apprenticeship, you will receive a $2,000 bonus. Dairy & Livestock apprentices will share a beautiful 2-bedroom house on the farm. Each apprentice will have their own bedroom. The house is furnished and outfitted with basic kitchen and cooking supplies. Housing and utilities provided. You will have a private room plus access to a shared kitchen/living space and bathroom. Prepared breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday Staple foods provided to cook at your leisure Vegetables, meat, dairy, and eggs provided from the farm Household goods such as furniture, soap, sponges, detergent, well-equipped kitchen, etc. Laundry facilities Water and electric Wireless Trash and recycling You will not need to purchase food unless you have specific dietary needs or wants Housing costs are estimated to be valued at more than $10,000 annually. In addition, apprentices receive 10 personal days, 5 sick days, and specified holidays off. Application instructions Please click here to sign in and view application details.
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