If you’ve ever wanted to learn from the cowboys at White Oak Pastures, now is your best opportunity.
White Oak Pastures has officially opened up a new intern/apprenticeship program that shows accepted applicants every aspect of life on a farm–from building fences to raising healthy cattle and small ruminants, as well as administrative duties like marketing and insurance.
“Over the past decade, White Oak Pastures has continued to diversify its farming operation, and as a result, we receive inquiries from farmers and educators who want to create a holistic atmosphere and utilize a zero-waste model that puts carbon back into the soil,” said Jenni Harris, marketing manager at White Oak Pastures. “We continue to receive requests from all different types of people. Some, who have been farming all of their lives, and others who aren’t sure if a profession of farming is for them. They all have the same question–‘how can I learn from you?'”
Those requests led to the creation of a four-level program for folks of all walks of life to learn about holistic farming.
In 12-week stages, interns begin as freshman and can advance as high up as a senior apprentice within a year. A down payment of $1,500 reserves the internship, and freshman level interns will earn $8 per hour. Interns will also receive discounts at the on-site restaurant and store.
Interns will study in every department to gain a full understanding of how one hands feeds the other in a closed-loop system, with increased learning opportunities and some specialization upon graduating to a sophomore, junior or senior. Those who graduate as senior apprentices in good standing with every department will be offered a full-time job at White Oak Pastures.
Even if you aren’t interested in living in Bluffton, Ga. for the rest of your life, the knowledge gained from a year of intensive study at White Oak Pastures will be able to handle their own operation.
One catch is for experienced farmers. Everyone, no matter the experience level, will begin as freshman.
“If you don’t know how to build fences or if you don’t know the basic practices of holistic management, you can’t possibly delve into what it takes to raise animals holistically,” said Harris.
Still, there is plenty to learn at a farm with so much vertical integration. They have marketing teams, photographers, accountants, chefs, butchers and, of course, plenty of cowboys. There are a wide range of skills to be learned at White Oak Pastures, all of them essential to a vertically integrated farm operation.
“You can’t run a farm without payroll,” said Harris. “You can’t run a farm without insurance. That’s just part of it.”
The opportunity will also give interns a true taste of life in rural Georgia. As the application warns, “If you are used to yoga studios and coffee shops on each corner, prepare to adjust.” For a bit more engagement, interns can also stay at nearby Andrew College for $1,200 per 12-week term.
In all, there are very few opportunities that will pay you to learn from some of the best, most sustainable farmers in the world. White Oak Pastures has been known for pushing the boundaries of what is considered possible in the world of farming. Once again, their internship program continues that push.
Full details about the internship program and the application can be found online here. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.
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