Internship Opportunity at Weathertop Farm in Check, VA

Overview:  Weathertop Farm is a small 67-acre family farm dedicated to holistic sustainable agriculture.  Our farm is located in scenic Floyd County, VA, just a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway with all it’s recreational opportunities, and only 14 miles from the town of Floyd, renowned for it’s thriving artist, music, and local food scene.

Weathertop Farm accepts 1 or 2 interns each year for the duration of our May -November season.  We’re looking for folks interested and passionate about preserving sustainable agriculture systems within our local food-shed communities.  Interns must be ready to work hard doing manual labor in all kinds of weather.  Basic housing is provided along with whatever food is grown here on the farm and group farm lunches will be regular fare.

A monthly stipend of $400 per person will be provided.  We expect interns to put in approximately 40 hours a week on average, most work is done from 7-12 Mon-Sat as well as afternoons and all processing days.  You can expect to work alongside the farmer for some tasks and independently for others. Opportunities are available for those with initiative to make some money from projects of their own.  Some examples might be: growing some extra chickens, trying out a heritage breed of turkey or growing vegetables for market.

What we expect of you:
We do not require that you have any prior farming experience,  but these are qualities we’re looking for:
-a positive attitude
-willingness to try new things
-enthusiasm
-flexibility
-commitment
-personal initiative
-cooperation for working with others
-ability to follow directions
-ability to do manual labor & lift 50lb sacks
-good people-person comfortable in a sales setting interacting with customers.
-ability to work with children

We have 5 kids ranging in ages from 9-16, and we need you to be able to work well alongside them when they’re around.  We also have extended family and friends living nearby and frequently visiting and helping out.  We care a great deal about our farm community and try to keep our environment clean and healthy on all levels.

So we ask all interns to commit to no smoking, no drugs and no drama.

We give preference to someone who can commit to the whole time from mid-May through November up until Thanksgiving.

Work will include but is not limited to:
-Caring for laying hens: feeding & watering, collecting and carrying eggs (multiple times a   day).
-Cleaning eggs: sorting, washing, packing (daily) and delivery (2-3 x/week)
-Assisting with moving fences and hen houses (weekly)
-Caring for broiler chickens: moving and servicing pens (twice a day)
-Brooder care: caring for chicks in the brooder(twice a day), transferring out to the field (once a month).
-Pigs: feed and water(twice a day), fence maintenance,  moving pasture, cleaning out portable house (occasionally)
-Rabbits: scything grass, feed and water twice a day.
-Hauling 50-lb feed bags in and out of truck/barn and distributing to animals as needed.
as well as other small animal care…

We do a lot of small construction projects around the farm, so if you have some carpentry skills that’s a plus but not required.

Processing: we butcher chickens on a 5 week rotating schedule, usually on Tues, Thurs & Sat every 5 weeks from May-Oct.  This is a long day of set-up, cleaning, butchering, lots more cleaning, and in the afternoon assisting with sales & customers on top of everyday chores.  Thanksgiving time also means several more days of processing turkeys, both in October and November.  Although these days do tend to have a fun communal side to them, they are an essential part of our farming operation and are a mandatory part of the internship, your attendance is required and non-negotiable.

Farmers Market: Saturdays start around 5am and involve packing coolers and vehicle, driving to Blacksburg (50 minute drive) setting up, interacting with customers &sales from 8-2, break down, drive home, unpack.

Other work: composting, mowing, fence set-up and moving, plenty of garden work, cleaning out bedding from brooder& hoop-houses, driving to mill for feed pick-up and unloading, cutting firewood, and other miscellaneous work.

Whatyou can expect from us:
This can be a great learning opportunity for someone interested in this kind of pasture-based farming.  It does require initiative and dedication on your part, but there is ample opportunity to learn about raising these animals first-hand, how a pasture-based system operates, and what the daily work is like on a farm. You can expect a lot of time from us for 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 (raising animals, butchering, sales & marketing) we hope you would gain an understanding of how the diverse operations of our farm are integrated into one business and function as a whole.

Housing: very old rustic farmhouse, furnished with basic amenities. House has some electricity and basic bath & kitchen facilities, including composting toilet.  You may use the laundry & internet at the main house.

Meals: We welcome interns 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 (meat, eggs, veggies).

Lunch will regularly include informal meetings to discuss upcoming tasks, projects and plans, as well as give and take of feedback between us on what we’ve all been doing.

Stipend of $400/month.

Sundays off, some Saturdays and afternoons off, too

Opportunities for education:
-access to our farm books along with some recommended reading assignments.
-Opportunity to learn poultry processing as well as marketing and sales
-chance to try a project on your own while you have access to farm equipment,
land, animal housing, markets and advice.
-chance to use space in our garden to grown something for yourself and/or for
sale.
-chances to visit/work with other farms and alternative food systems in Floyd
and see what they are doing

Opportunities for recreation & entertainment:
-Meet other interns in Floyd so you can socialize & network with them
-The nearby town of Floyd has a great food, music & arts scene going on.
-Proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway offers lots of chances for hiking & camping.
-Nearby Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech, is a great college town with lots going on.

Application process:
Please read through all relevant information here as well as on our website so you are familiar with our farm.

In addition to the written application, in almost all cases we will require an in-person visit, (which could be an overnight or weekend stay) so we can get a feel for one another.

Cedric & Sarah Shannon, Weathertop Farm LLC

963 Eanes Rd. NE Check, VA 24072

Phone: (540) 651-2010

Email: info@weathertopfarm.com

Website: www.weathertopfarm.com

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