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Apprenticeship Application Details

San Juan Ranch Apprenticeship

The application process is now OPEN for 2015.
SJR Apprenticeship Application for 2015
Email with questions.

sam averyweb

Application period: Fall
Start-Date: February or March
Commitment: 1 Year

The San Juan Ranch is a certified organic, grass-based cattle ranch located in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. This Ranch Apprenticeship is a 12 month, professional training apprenticeship targeted at aspiring agrarians committed to a life and career at the intersection of conservation and sustainable agriculture. The San Juan Ranch has been recognized for innovation and leadership in sustainable agriculture.

The apprentice will receive hands-on experience with a cow-calf and grass-finishing operation, including Holistic Management, low-stress animal handling, herding, biological monitoring, marketing, financial planning, and land stewardship.

This 12-month apprenticeship has been offered through an ongoing partnership between the San Juan Ranch and the Quivira Coalition New Agrarian Program since 2009. As of the spring of 2013, we will have successfully trained and graduated four apprentices. The fifth, Drew Cole, is now immersed in his apprenticeship.

Enthusiasm and a sincere commitment to sustainable agriculture and food production are more important than experience, though experience with large animals is a plus.

If you are interested in applying, please take the time to read reports written by current and previous apprentices to gain a better understanding of what this apprenticeship entails:
Current Apprentice
Previous Apprentices

Stipend: The monthly stipend is determined each year, based on available funding; it is typically around $700 take-home pay. This is paid at the end of each month, and can be directly deposited to your bank.

Housing: Apprentice housing has taken a few different forms, including classic Silver Streak trailers on site at the ranch, rented housing nearby, and a house at the family farm. This has been dependent on season and where cattle are located. Heat and water are included in housing and are not additional expenses for the apprentice - though we do ask that you be conscientious of your energy use. Please note: housing can be provided only for the apprentice. Pets, spouses, significant others, and/or children cannot be accommodated on the ranch.

Food: The apprentice will receive partial board in the form of some shared meals, and will otherwise be responsible for providing her or his own meals. The main meal (the midday meal) of each day is usually eaten together with George and Julie. Sometimes supper will also be a group meal. For meals taken together, the apprentice will share in meal planning, cooking, and cleaning up afterwards. We will work together to plan meals we all enjoy, learn how to cook new things, and use the ranch garden and other locally grown food in order to keep costs down and eat well. This main meal is paid for by San Juan Ranch, as are snacks during the workday. The other two meals of the day are paid for by the apprentice. The ranch makes bulk purchases of staple foods, and apprentices are more than welcome to buy from those bulk purchases, which can help to reduce costs. You are also welcome to add you own bulk purchases to that order. The ranch garden is not producing in the late fall and winter, but provides a significant amount of food in the summer.

Education Stipend: Limited additional funding will be available for professional development opportunities during the apprenticeship, including conferences, workshops and trainings pertinent to the apprenticeship, and directly linked to sustainable agriculture. These funds can be utilized to reimburse travel and registration expenses.

Quivira Coalition Activities: The apprentice will be required to attend the annual Quivira Coalition conference, held each November in Albuquerque, NM; conference and hotel fees will be covered by the Quivira Coalition. In addition to the conference, the apprentice will attend one Quivira Land & Water Restoration Workshop, and may have an opportunity to visit one other NAP apprenticeship location. Apprentices are also required to write quarterly reports during their apprenticeship; these reports will go through the NAP Director at Quivira, and be posted on the Quivira website.

NO Smoking or Drugs: No smoking or drugs on ranch, refuge, range, vehicles, housing - the ranch is a completely non-smoking environment.

NO Partying: No partying. Having a beer/glass of wine or two after work is just fine.

Health Insurance: The ranching lifestyle has inherent dangers. While personal health insurance is not required to participate in the apprenticeship program, it is strongly encouraged. The ranch carries Workman's Compensation to cover injuries incurred on the job. But if, for example, you were to be injured on your day off, or you got the flu, or if you found that you had allergies once you got here, those types of issues would have to be covered by your own insurance, or paid for out-of-pocket.

Ranch Vehicles: All of the ranch vehicles are standard transmission. Apprentices will need to know how to drive stick-shift. Previous experience with backing up trailers is not required, but greatly appreciated.

Personal Vehicle: While there are no instances (or very few) when an apprentice would be required to use a personal vehicle around the ranch, we highly encourage apprentices to bring a personal vehicle to allow travel on days off.

The application process is now OPEN for the 2014 apprentice Position on the San Juan Ranch.
SJR Apprenticeship Application for 2015
Email with questions.

The application process includes the following steps:

1. Application: Interested individuals will need to submit a completed application, together with a current resume and 2 professional references, to the New Agrarian Program director - George and Julie (San Juan Ranch) and Virginie Pointeau (Quivira Coalition - New Agrarian Program) will carefully review all applications once the deadline has passed, and contact applicants about the next steps in the process.

2. Follow-Up Questions: Applicants may be contacted with a few additional questions, either by email or phone.

3. Phone Interviews: Semi-Finalists in the application process will be asked to schedule a phone interview. These interviews generally last 1-1 1/2 hours, and a portion of the interview may be a visual/audio conference via Skype or Google Hangouts.

4. Ranch Visit & In-person Interview: Finalists will be asked to travel to the ranch for an overnight work visit and interview. A travel stipend will be provided to help with travel expenses.