Farm Manager wanted for organic berry and vegetable farm
Posted on: 02/21/2018 1:08 pm
Our diversified organic family farm is located in the beautiful Upper Valley region of North Central Washington, about 25 minutes from Leavenworth. We are surrounded by a wealth of recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, rock climbing, and biking. Over a dozen varieties of berries in addition to over 50 varieties of vegetables are grown on our farm. In addition to growing produce, we have a licensed food processing facility, we keep honey bees, and we maintain a small flock of poultry. We market our produce to schools, stores, health bars, restaurants and farmers markets and also offer direct sales from our farm. 2018 will be an exciting year for us as we nearly doubled our revenue this year, and are planning similar growth in the coming year. We are focused on working smarter, not just harder, and we are open to experimenting and keep learning from our mistakes. Some of the changes we will be implementing in 2018 come from the inspiring examples of two successful market growers who are leading the way in profitable farming – Urban Farmer Curtis Stone and J.M. Fortier.
The Farm Manager assists owner with planning and management of a diverse mixed berry and vegetable organic farm which also includes an apiary and a food processing facility. The successful manager will reap the financial rewards of his/her efforts through a generous incentive program. This is a multi-disciplinary role for a highly capable individual, as it spans all aspects of the operation including financial planning, sales and marketing, crop production, apiary management, development of value-added products, supervision of seasonal staff, and post-harvest handling. Hands-on farm activities include a wide range of tasks, such as planting, weeding, managing irrigation, building trellises, pruning, thinning, fertilizing, transplanting and harvesting.
- Financial Planning and Analysis: Evaluate the cost-effectiveness of all aspects of the operation on an ongoing basis, and recommend ways to increase efficiency. Identify high margin crops and develop budget for running trials.
- Sales and Marketing: Identify potential new accounts and distribution channels, prepare sales plan, recommend most effective marketing strategies, meet with key stakeholders, and grow wholesale customer base.
- Merchandising: Create effective displays for farmers markets and stores; work with produce managers to create special displays highlighting our produce.
- Customer Service: Consistently demonstrate a heart for customer service at its best; anticipate and solve problems proactively; build relationships that facilitate honest feedback
- Crop Planning: Evaluate soil health and recommend amendments; assist with developing planting schedule; ensure that planting dates are on target including indoor seed starting, transplants and direct seeding; evaluate success of different varieties; use proactive weed management strategies; identify and address pest and disease issues in a timely manner; develop and monitor harvest schedule; maintain detailed records.
- Berry Management: Participate in pruning, fertilizing and other maintenance as needed; build and maintain trellises; troubleshoot irrigation issues; recruit seasonal pickers and help develop and monitor piece-rate productivity and wage system. Take a hands-on role with berry picking to lead by example.
- Pre and Post-Harvest Management: Ensure that all sanitary protocols are followed, including hand washing, general sanitation, time to refrigeration, and maintaining accurate records to track field to delivery.
- Irrigation Management: Regularly check all aspects of irrigation to ensure that all crops are being watered properly; determine when/how much water is needed; recommend ways to further automate the system.
- Season Extension: Maximize use of existing high tunnel for spring and fall production; assist with installation of additional tunnels and recommend crops to grow in them.
- Compost: Develop a system for building our own compost, utilizing manure from our chickens along with plant material from our fields, ensuring that time and temperature are monitored and meet the requirements for application on all crops.
- Equipment Maintenance and Repair: Identify equipment issues, repair as needed, or recommend solutions. Most of our power equipment is relatively new and has been well-maintained. We currently have a Kubota tractor with several implements in addition to small engine equipment like a walk behind tiller and lawn tractor, and utilize a flame weeder and weed trimmer.
- Apiary Management: Assist with managing hives, including weekly inspections, manipulating frames, splitting and combining hives, raising queens, and extracting honey.
Skills and Abilities Required:
- Significant prior farming experience
- Knowledge of organic systems and growing practices
- Passion for sustainable agriculture
- Effective communication skills, both verbal and written
- Self-starter, multi-task oriented, works well independently
- You naturally know how to hustle – you move quickly and think about how to be efficient
- Amazing work ethic – you bring your “A” game each and every day, and push yourself to exceed your personal best
- Relationship builder with proven sales track record
- Excellent time management skills and attention to detail
Additional Qualifications (preferred, not required):
- Bilingual English/Spanish
- Basic carpentry skills
- Small engine maintenance and repair
- Able to work in all weather, including heat, cold, rain, wind, smoke
- Must be able to frequently lift and move 50 pounds
- Able to stand for long periods of time
- Able to lift, twist, squat, bend repeatedly without strain
- Valid driver license
- There is no smoking on farm property
- This is a full-time seasonal position from approximately May 1st to September 30th
- $15.00/hour to start, plus incentives that could take rate to $20/hour or more
To apply, please send cover letter and resume via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.