NOTE: We are no longer accepting applications for 2017 apprenticeships.

We will post 2018 apprenticeships later this year. 2017 position description is included below.

Apprentice Program Curriculum and Responsibilities

The apprenticeship program aims for each apprentice to become skilled in the practices of agroecology. The idea is that our pastures are an ecosystem where ecological processes apply. Implicit in that idea is that agroecosystems can produce better food. The goal is to minimize environmental and social impact with fewer external inputs. Our agroecological principles serve as the tools for these management decisions. The livestock apprentice will gain practical production experience in a diversified cropping and grazing system. This production experience will be supported with on-farm and indoor classroom time to provide a comprehensive understanding of agroecological systems. The farm livestock manager and her team will provide daily operational training, mentorship, and guidance in the crop production spaces and its CSA, retail, and wholesale markets. The apprentice will participate on a team that includes farm managers, other apprentices, support staff, interns and volunteers.

Apprentices participate extensively in the Center’s educational outreach, providing them with opportunities to build communication skills around our practices in agroecology and food system change with diverse audiences, including farmers, chefs, weekend visitors, youth day-campers, and high school and college students.

In addition, apprentices will participate in classes, workshops and conferences led by Stone Barns Center’s experienced farmers, Blue Hill chefs, and other food and agricultural experts in the region. The aim is to create literacy around agroecology. This academic component will reinforce and supplement the apprenticeship’s hands-on production training with a working knowledge of the science, arts and real-world challenges of agroecology. Some workshops will be complemented by traveling to other farms in the region through the apprentice’s participation in the Hudson Valley Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) program and other Hudson Valley partnerships.

Livestock Apprentice

The livestock apprentice will learn the skills to create and maintain a healthy environment for the stewardship of a multi-species livestock program that currently includes sheep, swine, layers, broilers, turkeys, geese, goats and bees. Our management system focuses on the animal’s welfare. It strives to let the animals express instinctual behaviors, develop a healthy immune system, and serve as an ecological service for our landscapes through multi-species rotational grazing and pasture management. Apprentices will work as animal husbands in a range of areas that include our bed-pack barnyard systems, our grasslands and our woodlands. Ruminant and fowl husbandry are the primary focus with an emphasis on poultry brooding and care. Time will be spent assisting the farm livestock manager and the livestock assistant manager with daily farm operations. Through the course of the season, the apprentice will develop production skills including, but not limited to, the following:

  • A basic understanding for how our agroecological management systems apply
    to animal husbandry
  • Intensive, multispecies pasture management
  • Soil health and animal rotations
  • Brooder barn and poultry management
  • Small ruminant management
  • Beekeeping and honey processing
  • Moveable fencing systems
  • Breeding
  • FAMACHA and internal parasite management in small ruminants
  • Weekly poultry slaughter and processing
  • Compost management
  • Operating and maintaining relevant machinery
  • Tracking production/record keeping
  • Supervising interns and volunteers

These livestock production skills will be supported through on-farm rotations to different areas of the farm. Additionally, roughly twenty-five percent of your time will be dedicated to interdisciplinary training in agroecology and food system literacy. Topics will include but are not limited to:

  • Soil, flavor and health
  • Genetic diversity
  • Food’s future in education
  • The botany and zoology of our landscapes

The purpose of this interdisciplinary training is to create literacy around key principles of agroecology to empower future leaders to contribute to the conversation around our food systems’ real world problems and the budding solutions that are a part of the current dialogue.

Requirements for Admission

Applicants should be committed to learning and passionate about developing their career as a farmer and food system leader. Preference will be given to applicants with at least one full season of farming experience and a background in a production setting. Strong commitment and effort is required and solid time management skills are essential. Apprentices will need to feel comfortable in an educational setting. Teaching or public speaking skills are a plus. Additional prerequisites include the ability to lift at least 50 pounds, be outside in adverse weather conditions and to function positively in a team and as part of a collaborative work environment. Parts of the apprenticeship require intensive physical effort.

Additional Information

The program runs five days per week and includes weekend rotations. This is a nine-month apprenticeship, running from March 6, 2017 to December 1, 2017. Each apprentice receives a bi-weekly stipend of $1,250 (gross before taxes) which includes funds for housing. In addition, Stone Barns voluntarily provides workers’ compensation and short-term disability insurance to apprentices.

To Apply:

Please follow the application steps here. The deadline for applications is October 31. Promising candidates will be interviewed and invited for a mandatory in-person trial day during November and early December.

Stone Barns Center

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is a nonprofit organization on a mission to create a healthy and sustainable food system that benefits us all. We are working to build a culture of eating based on what farms need to grow to sustain healthy soil and a resilient ecosystem. In our quest to transform the way America eats and farms, we convene change makers, train farmers, educate food citizens and develop agroecological farming practices.


2016 Poultry School: Save the Date

Poultry School is a two-day program running March 19 and 20.
Program cost is $150.
Registration closes at 5pm on March 14.

Register for Poultry School here.

Read the Conference brochure.


Egg Safety and Quality – Jarra Jagne, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Selling Poultry to Restaurants – Suzanne Podhaizer, Farm-to-Table Consulting

Income Positive Poultry for Meat and Eggs – Jeff MattocksThe Fertrell Company

Practical Anatomy and Physiology of the Chicken – Dr. Michael J. Darre, University of Connecticut, Department of Animal Science

Amplifying Health: Creating a Poultry Environment – Anne Lichtenwalner, University of Maine, Animal Health Lab

Building Better Shelters for Your Flock – Mike BadgerAPPPABadger’s Millside FarmPastured Poultry Talk

Poultry Processing and Electrical Stun Knife Display – Craig Haney, Stone Barns Center; Jim McGlaughlin, Cornerstone Farm Ventures

Flock keeping Skills and Methods – Julie Gauthier, Chickcharney Farm

Lunchtime Talk with Will Harris of White Oak Pastures

Meals by Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Mrs. Greens

A block of rooms has been set aside for a reduced rate at the Sheraton Tarrytown, located at 600 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591. Please follow this link to reserve a room or contact the Sheraton directly at 914 332 7900.   A complimentary shuttle will be available to transfer Sheraton hotel guests to and from the conference in the mornings and evenings.  This special rate will end on March 2.

For questions, please write to

Thank you to our supporters


Slow Tools

Face it: we small farmers have been “making things work” for a long time in the tool shop. Forced to adapt tools and equipment designed long ago, we retrofit. Because there are very few tools diversified enough for our needs or scaled to our production size, we retool.

“Nearly all of the tractors and their implements used by small farmers disappeared during the rise of the current global industrial farming system, beginning in the 1960s,” says Barry Griffin, a mechanical engineer with a long history of successfully designing marine winches, moorings and machinery. He notes that the market for small-scale farm equipment and tools simply doesn’t exist today, putting small farmers at a disadvantage.

That’s why Griffin is teaming up with Stone Barns Center to lead the Slow Tools Project, a collaboration among farmers, engineers, tool manufacturers, metalworkers, machinists, marketers and funders to design and build a host of new tools and make them readily available to the swelling ranks of young farmers. Among the partners steering the project are farmer-inventors Eliot Coleman, of Four Season Farm in Maine; Josh Volk, of Slow Hand Farm in Oregon; Ron Khosla, of Huguenot Street Farm in New York; and Jack Algiere, of Stone Barns Center. They are designing all tools to be lightweight, ergonomic, affordable and adaptable to small-farming needs.

“The Slow Tools concept emphasizes community interaction and development,” says Algiere, Vegetable Farm Manager at Stone Barns. “What is notably different about this project is the open-source, non-proprietary conversation that has been left unrestricted by those involved in the design process. Each professional view gives a different perspective on the efficiency, potential and reality of the tool. We are stretching our understanding of what is necessary and possible.”

The first tool off the block in the Slow Tools Project is the T-30 tractor, a small electric tractor that will serve as the “motherboard” frame to which other tools can be attached. (T-30 takes its name from its 30-inch belly and its ability to work a 30-inch bed.) The electric tractor is designed to carry and control a great number of mountable implements including bed shapers, cultivators, precision seeders, harvesters and material spreaders.

“The open-belly design gives farmers a closer connection with the land they’re working because they can see the actual ground they’re working,” says Algiere—unlike the over-the-shoulder view of the ground they get when driving standard tractors on the market today.

“This is not a design made from leftover parts or rebuilt old equipment retrofitted to suit a new purpose,” notes Algiere. “This is efficient, cost-effective, adaptive, safe and modern.”

By mid-September, the Slow Tools team anticipates having the second prototype built. They then will test and tweak it over the fall, putting it to work in Stone Barns’ greenhouse and fields, and plan to unveil it at the 2012 Young Farmers Conference in December.

The objective is not to patent and sell the tractor. Rather, the Slow Tools partnership wants to make the plans available through open-source technology and encourage small manufacturers to pick up the designs for local production and distribution.

“Our aim is to keep the size and price point of the tractor well within the financial reach of a small farmer, and it is designed to be built modularly with parts that can be easily found through outlets like Johnny’s Seeds,” says Algiere. “Right now we’re looking at $3.50 per pound for the tractor—an extremely good value.”

Beginning with the initial Slow Tools Summit last winter, the partners have identified the T-30 tractor plus 33 other tools in need of development. Other inventions to follow will be the solar-powered “Horse Tractor,” which could have a significant impact among cultures dependent on draft animals and where drought limits water availability, and a compressed-air grain harvester and processor.

Griffin, who grew up on a small family-run oyster farm, says he’s always been drawn toward communities seeking to sustainably steward their natural resources. “To engage at the end of my design engineering career so close to the values of my childhood and early mentors is exceptionally satisfying.”