Farm Manager

Farm-Crew-2022-Action-Shot-lettuce
$35,000

Position Details

  • Full time (30-50 hours/week), year-round, with 3 weeks paid time off.
  • $35,000-40,000 annual salary including a bonus based on annual sales.
  • The intention of working at least two full seasons is required.   The ideal candidate will be interested in working up to a long-term partnership with a stake in ownership of the farm.
  • Applications accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled
  • Start date is flexible for the right candidate.  Preferred start would be February 2023, with a possibility of starting as early as Fall 2022 or later in 2023 if needed.

 

About the Farm

Clem’s Organic Gardens grows 8 acres of certified organic vegetables near Brevard, NC on the rich bottomland soil along the Davidson River. We specialize in several crops, particularly root vegetables, winter squash, and greens.  We have an 8600 square foot heated greenhouse and have plans to install 6400 square feet of caterpillar tunnels later in 2022, for diversification in the summer and continuous harvests through the winter.

Our farm model is centered around production for wholesale distribution in bulk. We harvest our storage crops directly into 20-bushel bins and our greens directly into wax boxes. We use a specialized pack line to wash the root vegetables and sort into standard case sizes, and the final product is stacked onto pallets for transportation. We have large storage coolers and use a pallet jack to move heavy things around.  Product is delivered with a refrigerated box truck to a loading dock facility in Asheville for distribution to our customers. There is no packing of CSA boxes or standing at the farmer’s market on Saturdays at our farm. This model allows us to operate efficiently, streamlining sales and distribution so we can focus on farming.

The farm is currently run by farm manager Noah Poulos with the support (both behind-the-scenes and on-farm) of the farm owner and founder, Clem Swift.  We employ three full-time migrant workers from Mexico on H2A visas from May to November and four part- to full-time local workers throughout the year.

 

Job Description and Responsibilities

The Farm Manager will oversee all aspects of the on-farm activities.  We have several team members who are trained or are currently in training to manage certain aspects of the business, including crop planning, field preparation, spraying, sales and accounting, and packing and delivery.  The farm manager will develop an understanding of all aspects of the farm business and coordinate the work of all the team members on a daily and weekly basis.   

More specifically, the farm manager will forecast the activities of the farm 7-14 days in advance in coordination with the crop plan, the weather forecast and soil conditions, the schedules and availability of the crew, the status of crops in the field, the weekly delivery schedule, and the demand of customers.  

On a daily basis, the farm manager will schedule the crew, determine the day’s activities, and manage the workflow of people and tasks to see that the work gets done in an efficient and sensible manner.

Overall, the farm manager will be responsible for ensuring that the farm operates with the highest standards of efficiency and quality that are practical within the context of the realities of organic vegetable farming.

Initially, the farm manager will work closely with the farm owner periodically to become familiar with the systems that are in place on the farm and will be encouraged to refine and modify those systems.  In the periods where the farm owner is away, the farm manager will be expected to manage on their own with remote consultation from the farm owner.  This arrangement will hold for at least the first full season, with the manager progressively becoming more independent.

The work schedule is generally Monday through Friday during the main season (April through November), with some weekend work needed occasionally and flexibility required depending on the weather and workload.  There may be long days working with the crew and/or the farm owner to complete timely tasks.  It will be the farm manager’s role, after an initial on-boarding period, to determine the work schedule both for themselves and for the crew, balancing the needs of the farm with individuals’ personal needs and well-being.

 

Workplace Culture and Long-Term Vision

The business was founded from the beginning on a principle that the farm should fit the needs of the farmers, not the other way around.  We all have other things going on in our lives and while everyone here thoroughly enjoys working on a farm, we understand that there’s a time to work and a time to take a break.  Sometimes the workload gets to be bigger than we’d like, and in those times we push through to get done what’s needed and then reflect on changes that could make the system more sustainable for a balanced lifestyle moving forward.

The long-term ideal is for the farm to operate under the direction of multiple full-time managers, a year-round farm crew, and a crew of H2A seasonal workers who come back every year.  We’ve made steps toward that vision over the past few years and will continue to work toward it in the years to come.

 

Required Qualifications

  • Experience working on a vegetable farm.
  • Ability to plan and manage the daily and weekly workflow of the farm, overseeing 6-8 people at different tasks.
  • Strong understanding of production systems, having experience with seeding, plant life cycles, scouting for pests and diseases, and harvest and post-harvest handling.
  • Ability to operate with autonomy after being trained in farm-specific production systems
  • Excellent time management and strong sense of pace and urgency
  • Strong communication skills, positive attitude, and solution-oriented
  • Strong work ethic and excellent attention to detail
  • Must be willing to work outdoors in all weather conditions
  • Willingness to keep a flexible schedule with extended hours possible during the busiest parts of the season.
  • Detail-oriented and organized
  • Commitment to at least two full seasons in this position.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license.
  • Must be able to lift at least 50 lbs.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience operating tractors for agricultural field operations including bed preparation, cultivation, tillage, and seeding.
  • Experience managing a farm crew.
  • Experience with greenhouse transplant production.  We currently purchase nearly all of our transplants but predict that a transition to in-house production may be necessary in the future.
  • Experience working with documentation in GAP and Organic certifications.
  • An understanding of Spanish or a willingness and ability to learn.

Application Instructions

Please send a resume and cover letter to clemswift@gmail.com with the subject “Farm Manager 2023”

 

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  • Contact Name : Clem Swift
  • Business/Organization : Clem's Organic Gardens

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