Work at the Farm
Sunnyfield Farm provides full season interns 100 dollars a month plus room and board. Housing is in the farm house with other farmers and
interns. Breakfasts and lunches are generally “fend for yourself” from staples purchased by the farm and food grown onsite, while dinners are a community meal prepared by one or two people for everybody on a rotating basis. Keeping our living spaces and farm store clean and organized is a priority.
Although we assign interns to different projects according to their expressed interests this is never possible one hundred percent of the time. We all pitch in wherever and whenever it is needed to keep all of our diverse interests progressing. This is especially true of the daily animal chores which everyone should expect to be involved in at one point or another. Sunnyfield is home to cows, sheep, pigs, layer hens and broiler chickens, turkeys, guinea hens and three horses that are being trained to work on the farm. We are taking a break from our commercial vegetable garden for the 2012 season, but we will all pitch in to grow plenty of organic veggies for the farm crew.
People interested in our internship program should primarily be motivated to learn about our small scale raw milk dairy and meat operations.
At Sunnyfield Farm, we have a small herd of Jersey, Milking Devon, and Jersey/Devon cross bred cattle. We are not breeding show cattle, or for the highest milk production, or the fastest rate of gain for beef. We want the animals that work best for us. That means cows that stay in good condition and meet modest production goals on a 100% grass diet.
All of the products of the herd are sold at the farm. They include raw milk and cream, veal and beef. We are selling to our neighbors for consumption by their families. This forces us to focus on quality and high value. Our customers know us and the farm. They are welcome in the barn and have great appreciation for the work we do and food that is produced at Sunnyfield.
Interns are an important part of the farm crew. Work with the cattle includes almost everything that we do. The cows are rotationally grazed from May to November. Fences need to be set up to allow milk cows to shift paddocks twice a day, others once a day. Cows are milked once a day. Milk jars are filled and the barn is cleaned every day. Freezers are stocked with various types of meat a couple times a week. We need people to observe the herd to check for heats and health issues or injuries. There are always building and equipment issues to deal with. We make hay in small square bales. This means lots of hay handling, unloading hay wagons and stacking hay in the barns. Work in the fields is varied according to ability. It includes some clearing, spraying liquid amendments, spreading dry amendments, seeding and haying. Also taking soil samplesand monitoring growth and diversity of plants in pastures and hay fields.
Interns learn all aspects of grass based sheep husbandry. Early arrivals are involved with birthing in late winter/early spring. Starting in May sheep are prepared for moving to
summer pastures which involves shearing, foot trimming, fecal checks with worming if necessary, tagging. Sheep are moved to different summer pastures set up in paddocks
which are moved every three days. Daily maintenance involves a once a day feeding of the guard dogs, head count, a check over of the sheep and watering. Watering can involve carrying 5 gallon buckets for hopefully, short distances. The set up of different paddocks can involve the use of a machete or weedwacker to trim brush or tall grass. The sheep are often on land owned by people other than Sunnyfield, so being able to work well and politely with people is a must.
Interns will be able to learn and acquire skills in identifying good pastures, use of electranet fencing, identifying sheep health issues, working and moving large groups of
sheep with the help of three border collies and marketing lamb for wool and meat.
To apply, fill out our online form.