Hiring: Vegetable Production Manager – Simple Gifts Farm

Overview:

Simple Gifts Farm is seeking a person who can take on management of 15 to 20 acres of diverse vegetable field crop production. We envision this position as a stepping stone for someone to transition into a larger role in the ownership and management of the farm operation as a whole.  Depending on the abilities and interests of the successful applicant, this transition could happen within a year or over multiple years, depending on the abilities and interests of the individual.

Background:

Simple Gifts Farm is a small, diverse market farm located in the academic town of Amherst in Western Massachusetts. We run a 200-member CSA program and were 18-year members of the Amherst Farmer’s Market. In July of 2017, we opened a full-service farm store on-site to converge our CSA and retail marketing efforts; most of the production of the farm now channels through the store to the members of our local community. We produce and market vegetables year-round from the field and from close to a half-acre of greenhouse space. While vegetables are the centerpiece and economic driver for our farm, we integrate livestock into our production system to build soil fertility and to produce meat and eggs.

We lease a total of 30 acres from North Amherst Community Farm (NACF), a nonprofit formed by a coalition of passionate farm neighbors who own the land and have preserved it in perpetuity for farming. NACF selected us as stewards to ensure that the land remains an organic farm, a wildlife corridor, and a place for local residents to enjoy nature and walking trails. Our tenure on and investments in the farm are protected with a long-term lease.  We run the farm as an ecological unit, working to improve the health of micro and macro-organisms alike, and connecting our CSA members and other neighbors with their local food supply. We also pride ourselves on being a working educational farm by offering an immersive organic farming apprenticeship program.  We maintain a collaborative and professional work environment where all staff are encouraged to achieve excellent results, both independently and as members of a team.

Specific Job Description:

The Vegetable Production Manager will be responsible for day-to-day operation of the vegetable production enterprise.

  • Prepare overall production plan including crop plan; labor and financial budget; and fertility, weed and pest control plan geared towards the needs of the CSA and farm store and continuing our trajectory of continuously building soil fertility and also continue our transition to minimum tillage production.
  • Prepare schedule of all production related activities – seasonally, weekly, and daily and continuously update that plan as conditions change.
  • Keep up to date records as necessary, especially planting, soil amendments, production and harvest data.
  • Monitor production and costs to be certain we are on target and work with farm owners to adjust the overall plan as needed.
  • Perform field production tasks and supervise field crews of 3 to 10 people carrying out other tasks during the production season including (but not limited to):
  • Field preparation: primary and secondary tillage, fertilization and compost application, spray on amendments, bed making, stale bedding;
  • Seeding or transplanting;
  • Production of greenhouse transplants and in-ground crops
  • Mechanical cultivation, hand weeding, mulching, staking and twining, etc.;
  • Maintaining field roads and field ends and edges as weed free as possible by mowing and tilling as needed;
  • Harvest, wash and pack crops, maintaining quality and efficiency standards and proper records;
  • Monitoring crop weeds, nutrient problems, diseases and pests and take action as appropriate;
  • Caring for land after harvest, work in aftermath and seed cover crop as appropriate;
  • Work closely with farm owners and possibly other managers to coordinate the overall delegation of apprentice crew and hourly workers for all tasks on the farm- this will include designating someone to be in charge of specific tasks (e.g. weeding crew, tomato staking, etc.) and with other farmers and managers to cover non-field production needs – especially harvest and greenhouse work, but also other repair and maintenance work, livestock care, and marketing;

This position could potentially be filled by an individual or a couple. Housing is available on the farm, either a studio apartment or a 2 to 4-bedroom unit for a family. Compensation will be competitive, and commensurate with experience and aptitude of the successful applicant.

To apply, send resume and cover letter to simplegiftsfarm@gmail.com.

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