2020 Sustainable Agriculture Apprenticeship Program

Sustainable Agriculture Research Apprenticeship

  • Apprentice Location: CEFS’ Farming Systems Research Unit (FSRU) in Goldsboro, NC
  • Mentor: Tomas Moreno
  • Start Date: Start date is May 2020, for a duration of 6 months.
  • Apply now!

Overview of Sustainable Agriculture Research Apprentice Experience: 

Apprentices will spend time at the Farming Systems Research Unit (FSRU) in Goldsboro, assisting with research, planting, weeding, and general field management. This is a unique project that offers a number of hands-on opportunities in various aspects of agricultural production and research. Examples of experiences include crop planting, harvesting, experience with pasture based cattle systems, research evaluation and data collection, as well as operating farm equipment. This apprenticeship is meant for those interested in learning more about sustainable agriculture in row crops or farming systems research. After completing this apprenticeship, you will be more prepared to work as a field research assistant or pursue graduate school in an agricultural field.

What specific skills are required for this position? While previous farming or research experience is not required, we seek individuals who are dedicated to sustainable agriculture, hard-working, motivated, have the ability to work consistently on repetitive tasks, enjoy physical labor, and have a positive attitude. Applicants should possess great communication and organizational skills, ability to follow directions, complete tasks independently, and to work in a team. This position works primarily outdoors, and activities will need to be completed under adverse weather conditions (cold, heat, humidity, rain, pollen) at times. Biting insects, snakes, and poison ivy are sometimes present on our farm. Most important is a positive attitude and enthusiasm for sustainable agriculture and learning about research.

What does an average week look like? What might an apprentice encounter during this time? The work day starts between 7-9 am and lasts until around 5 pm. The activities will vary through the apprenticeship program (depending on time of year). The participant will be involved (directly or indirectly) in all farming activities. The participant will be involved in all research activities, including planning, sampling, measuring, data management, and evaluation. The participant will share ideas and take part in discussions to decide actions to improve both agronomic and research procedures and strategies. The apprentice will be responsible for their own transportation to and from the farm, but housing in Goldsboro near the farm is available at a discounted rate.

Skills acquired with this apprenticeship will build a solid foundation for the following career paths: Research assistant, research technician, farm manager assistant, a variety of higher education or graduate programs in related fields. We have had many apprentices go on to pursue graduate school in an agricultural field.

What is expected of apprentices on this project? To be familiar and to learn how to use some farm equipment. To understand various sustainable agricultural practices, research procedures, and the importance of collecting good quality data. To learn the basics of data management and analysis.

Other requirements? Apprentices will be expected to live in the Goldsboro area and have their own transportation. Housing may be available near the farm in Goldsboro, NC for a small monthly fee.

Work Schedule: Monday-Friday with the possibility of some weekend and evening events.

Minimum Experience/Education: High school degree. 

Compensation: $10/hr for approximately 40 hours per week. 

Learn more about the Small Farm Unit here.