Diversified (integrating crop/livestock)
Farm background, farming experience, philosophy, goals and interests
Larson Farm is a diversified grass farm. We were conventional farmers for many years, and now enjoy the learning curve around soil biology being the foundation for all agricultural pursuits. Our goal is to produce and locally market unpasteurized high quality milk, grass-fed beef,and lamb, free-range poultry and eggs. We currently run a 15 cow Jersey dairy, a 30 cow Devon herd, poultry, and a few sheep. We have a growing raw-milk clientele. We plan to do more work with our draft horses. We sometimes think of the beauty of a full-diet, free-choice year-round CSA, but would need a couple of more visionaries to help us with that!
We purchased the farm in 1977. We have another business, but seem to manage to farm about full-time anyway.
Farm physical setting and community
Our farm is 320 acres, with 120 in grass. There are 3 houses, and several barns. Wells is a small town at the north end of the Mettewee valley, 22 miles SW of Rutland, and 20 miles N of Manchester. There are about 1200 people, with summer lake residents and visitors.Nearby Dorset has a year-round Farmer's Market, while Rutland Farmer's Market is year-round and expanding.. We are 8 miles S of Green Mountain College, which has a significant sustainable ag program. Nearby is Mettewee Community School, a lively pilot FEED school, with which we would like to collaborate.
Are all crops and animals raised organically? If not, to what degree are organic methods used on the farm?
We are exploring beyond organic toward optimum soil health and nutrient-dense food. Our beef is raised 100% on grass. Our dairy is pastured.We recently stopped all grain feeding to the dairy. We are working towards Certified Organic.
Apprentice(s) and Farm Worker(s)
Number of apprentices needed:
Number of workers needed:
Larson Farm is a 320 acre grass-based dairy with a small Devon beef herd. We milk 16 Jerseys, and sell raw milk at the farm and deliver to Farmers' Markets. We are actively restoring our soils. We also have a small horse-boarding operation, and draft-horse interests. We are looking for others to farm with us, starting their own farm enterprises here to better utilize the existing farm resources of land, infrastructure, housing, and equipment. Possibilities include poultry, lamb, market and value-added vegetables, apples, small fruits, education/agri-tourism, even value-added dairy. We have a lively farm store, needing more diversity! We have had a lively farm intern program that has enriched the lives of all. There are 3 homes. Equipment includes 2 tractors,a 9' rotovator, plus more, some horse-powered. A 42KW solar array provides power for the farm. We want to form a collaborative community here, sharing resources, labor, and lifestyle, to the benefit of all. The primary learning opportunity for an apprentice is management of a grass-fed Jersey dairy herd. This includes herd health, general barn chores,rotational grazing, and raw milk sales. We market a significant amount of raw milk at the farm. Milk quality, cleanliness and attention to detail are very important.
Work can be strenuous at times. An apprentice must be a willing, productive worker. We are looking for apprentices who are energetic, efficient, and are excited about helping us to increase organization, and sales, and maintain a pleasant, attractive farm.
Work Week and Wages
Hours and days will be determined by mutual agreement.
Wage to be determined:
Wage based on experience:
Trial Period Information:
A visit and trial period would certainly be ideal, but sometimes impractical.
Apprentice Benefits and Learning
Apprentice off-farm learning
- Time off to attend NOFA Vermont workshops
- Attend other organizations’ workshops
- Provide transportation
- Support and create local networking opportunities for apprentice
- Host an apprentice workshop
Room & Board Benefits:
Room and Board
For apprentices,we offer a private room,kitchen privileges in a separate part of the house, and some shared meals, where the meal preparation is shared. Meals are a great time to explore how we want our world to be, and how to bring that about. We are committed to innovation and education, and have several events held here. This summer,we have hosted NOFA, HMI, Rural Vt, and Raffl. UVM is doing grass amendment trials here, as well. We recently had SoilCarbon Coalition here, taking precise measurements of soil carbon, so that future improvements can be verified. Things can be pretty lively!
Skills to be learned by apprentices
Dairy management,Beef management,pasture improvemnt,fencing.
Apprentice instruction and training
We teach, we demonstrate, we encourage imput, we work together, we brainstorm and problem-solve together. We have daily and weekly meetings. We can help structure independent studies. Much of the daily work, however, is done alone.