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Sweet Stem Farm Hiring Pig Care Trainee

sweetstemfarmsweetstemfarm Junior Member
edited April 2015 in Employment/Jobs
Pig Care Trainee Position

Who We Are: Sweet Stem Farm is a small sustainable farm near Ephrata, Pennsylvania specializing in humanely raised pork. We are a “high-touch” farm committed to giving an extra degree of care and attention to our animals. We have developed numerous innovative techniques for keeping our animals comfortable and productive on a very small land base.

We direct market everything we raise, mostly in Lancaster and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We have made appearances in Bon Appetit magazine and in the 2011 documentary “American Meat”, as well as being included in an episode of the PBS series e2, which features Michael Pollan, author of “The Omnivore's Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food”.

Job Description: This will be a full-time position, approximately 35-50 hours per week, but you may be expected to work as many as 55-65 hours during our busiest weeks. We are looking for a reliable person to work Mondays through Fridays during the training period, but who will be able to switch to a weekend schedule, if needed, upon successful completion of training.

As a pig care trainee, you will be trained in the observation, diagnosis, and treatment of our pigs. The training period will last for approximately 3-4 months. Throughout the process, you will receive instruction and feedback from our pig care captain and other senior pig care providers. At the end of the training period, our management team will conduct a review to decide if you are a good fit for the position. If so, you will be promoted to “pig care provider”, receive a $1.50 raise, and potentially switch to a weekend schedule (e.g Friday-Tuesday). If not, the position will come to an end.

We are a “high-touch” farm, so you will work hands-on with the pigs, and occasionally with our sheep. If you are familiar with farm life, you know that livestock duties will vary, but in addition to your animal health responsibilities, jobs include scraping manure and mucking out pens, moving feed and checking water, bedding pens with straw, weighing pigs, and loading pigs for market.

The person who fills this position will work closely with the farm owners, the production manager, and other senior farmhands to keep operations running smoothly, especially during the transitions from weekday to weekend routines. You need to be self-motivated, since there may not always be someone to direct everything you do.

This position is perfect for someone who likes to work hard, has an interest in animal health, likes to get their hands dirty and is interested in sustainable agriculture and passionate about animal welfare. Livestock experience is not required.

Starting wage: $9.50/hr., increasing to $11 upon successful completion of training, and an additional $1 raise if switched to a weekend schedule.

Time commitment: We are looking for someone that will be available every Monday through Friday during the training period, but will be willing to shift to a weekend schedule upon completion of training, if needed. The animals don't stop needing care on weekends/holidays, so we need a high level of commitment. Farm life can mean highly variable hours on your workdays (approximately 4-14 hrs. depending on the day) and working in all kinds of weather. For most of the year, the work schedule will be 5 days a week, but we will sometimes need an extra day during the busiest weeks, such as when we bring in new pigs. You'll need to be very flexible. During the busy times, the long hours require a dedication to the job and a commitment to be here as long as needed. Outside interests must take a back seat to the farm's requirements.

1. A valid driver’s license
2. The ability to lift at least 80 lbs and be on your feet for long hours
3. A love of animals

This position also requires a person that is dedicated to the daily rhythms, chores, and care of our animals. This means, in part, that we don't have a set schedule but work each day according to weather conditions and many other factors. Great attention is given to stockmanship, identifying potential problems before they happen, and working together as a team to creatively solve issues.

Not required, but would be helpful:
1. Experience operating and maintaining equipment such as loader tractors, skid loaders, hammermills, and manure spreaders
2. Previous farm experience

Ideally the right person will also:
• Have a general understanding and concern for animal care and welfare.
• Be attentive to detail.
• Be naturally observant and pick up on the finer points of animal care and feeding, and machinery operation.
• Be self-motivated, staying productive and willing to work until the days' tasks are completed.
• Be organized, orderly, and help improve organizational systems, such as keeping tools and buildings neat and ready for use at any time.
• Be very patient – pigs are not always cooperative, and that means that sometimes tasks will take longer than anticipated. Losing patience with pigs is usually counterproductive in terms of efficiency and animal welfare.
• Be capable of remembering or writing down detailed instructions.
• Because attention to detail and the ability to follow specific directions are important to us, we’d like you to demonstrate your abilities here by including your favorite movie in your reply email.
• Seek direction and ask for clarification on non-routine tasks.
• Be able to communicate honestly and respectfully about concerns.
• Excel at taking initiative and getting routine things done without needing to be reminded of responsibilities.
• Be task oriented, willing to do any job and do it well.
• Be situationally aware.
• Be accustomed to farming and be willing to work through busy days and shorter days.
• Have a flexible schedule outside of work to accommodate variable hours as they change by week.
• Have interpersonal skills allowing you to work well with a variety of other people.
• Be interested in why we do things the way we do and help us refine our production practices while keeping in mind that we have tried a number of approaches and have in place a basic framework that we intend to stick with.
• Be adaptable, willing to learn the particular way we want things done.

Respond to sweetstemfarm@gmail.com with: A description of your work experiences and why you want to join the farm. Also explain why you think you would be a good fit for the job. If we are interested in giving you further consideration, we will email a questionnaire.

Please do not call or stop by the farm to get more information about this position. If, based on your response to this ad, we are interested in giving you further consideration for this position, we will email you a questionnaire.
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