Intern(s) wanted… kind of.

We are looking for interns to share with a local produce farm. That much is true.
BUT…
We are looking for so much more.

In my secret heart of hearts (well, not so secret now, it’s on the interweb), I am looking for a successor team.

The farm could have closed. We have spent so much, accumulated so much debt, worked ourselves too unhealthily hard, but we made it. Our farm plan calls for the farm to break even year 3 and start making money year 4 (and on). We are on track. We did it. We have absorbed the losses and extra expenses caused by the extended 4-year start up. We are here. We have arrived. The farm can now start carrying itself. We just don’t have the steam to carry it forward – there are extenuating circumstances, but to be honest, that is not for interweb publishing.

Losing the farm would be more than sad. It would be sad, to be clear, but not just sad. Losing the farm would lose agricultural status for our property (more land out of farmland is never a good thing). The start-up and infrastructures costs would be nothing more than wasted effort and monies.

But still, closing the farm is an option on the table.

What my dream looks like though, is way different than a dusty, closed dairy.

Cutting curds to make delicious cheese.

Cutting curds to make delicious cheese.

My dream includes taking a team that wants desperately to have a micro-creamery, but can’t because of the huge capital investment. You see, we’ve already done it. We’ve built the dairy.

What we need it energy. Passion. Someone willing and excited about doing what we do to hand the reins over to.

So, interns. Sort of. That’s how we’re starting. With the right interns we hope to teach them, train them, mentor them, usher them into micro-creamery world. (Oh, and we would share them with a produce farm so they can learn about growing produce and maybe have a productive market garden too!)

With the right team we hope we can help them learn about running a small dairy. Then (shh… don’t tell), we hope we can have them run our dairy, so we can step back.

Baby goats need feeding and love!

Baby goats need feeding and love!

Okay, not really step back. For that first year after intern year I will be in full-fledged consultant/resource mode. Our farm will serve its original goal. It will become an incubator for others with dreams, but not resources.

Leasing land is commonplace for interns ready to graduate to their own produce farm. However, leasing a diary/creamery is all but unheard of in this country. We want to change that.

We want to offer an educational/intern/apprentice experience and the facility to expand the business. Maybe more farms will follow suit. Maybe we can be a trendsetter. I know not many are so willing to put their huge capital investment on the line, but we are that passionate about what we do and what we stand for. It is time for more people to put their money and assets where their mouths are, we aren’t extraordinary, we are simply choosing to live with integrity to our values/goals. Enough lip service. Support local agriculture by SUPPORTING local agriculture (if that’s too vague, yes, I mean with your money).

The goal is for the next 2-3 years that a hard working team and ultimately their interns, will work the dairy and create products and agriculture equity on Whidbey Island. At which point they will either be ready to move on to develop their “perfect” dairy (with less wasted expense than we had) and pass on the torch to a new team… or they will choose to stay in our little town and keep our little creamery producing amazing local dairy goods.

Do you know some hard working, committed folks that dream of being part of an amazing micro-creamery? Would they be interested in a little diary incubator?

Send them our way!

We have babies coming, we’re ready to take this year on… but we need their help, as much as they need our infrastructure. Let’s team up.

Resting in the field with the "girls" is where I belong.

Resting in the field with the “girls” is where I belong.

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About Chief Milkmaid

A former executive, now goatmilker and cheesemaker, I am the Chief Milkmaid of the Little Brown Farm.
This entry was posted in About the Farm, Cheese, Critters, It's Personal and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Intern(s) wanted… kind of.

  1. I wish someone would do this with a fluid milk dairy, I’d be all over the opportunity!!! Although my own small herd of goats might complicate things I suppose…

  2. I love Nubians like you! And quality fluid milk is the key to great cheesemaking, but my two greatest reasons for working this hard are my passions for cheese and goats. I must admit if I were just doing it to make/sell fluid milk it sure wouldn’t have been worth the huge investment we’ve made to develop the dairy. That said, I sure wish there were more people around making fluid milk for sale so I could purchase more for cheesemaking and help keep up with demand of our cheeses. 🙂
    Thanks for your comment Natasha, your goats look beautiful!

  3. I wanted to share (with her permission, of course) a message I received privately from another farmer/friend. She told me; “You’ve done it again Vicky, we are looking for interns wanting experiences and you raise the bar. You’re looking for interns wanting their dreams to come true. Good for you! Keep up the good work.”
    That means so much to me. I must be doing something right if I’m on the path to making others’ dreams come true too.
    Agriculture is an incredible supportive field. There’s always a few that try to spoil it with their own issues – but they bring those issues to every field they dabble in, and they are certainly in the minority. My ag-family is the most sincere, supportive group of people I know. Thank you.

  4. Gabriella says:

    I am interested. I grew up on a farm and raised Nubians. I have done cesarean sections, birthed babies, cleaned, medicated and milked as well. I would like to visit or know more.

  5. Emily Anne says:

    This is wonderful, Vicky! I hope it starts a trend.. I’m going to send this to all of my friends in agro and hopefully they know someone who is looking for something just like this! Good luck!

    • Thank you so much for sharing. I appreciate the sharing. It took us a long time to come to this conclusion/decision. I am excited about the opportunities this will open for us and for those longing to be in the dairy world.

  6. Joel says:

    *sigh* really sorry to hear you guys are making plans to get out of the farm world, even to this degree… We’ll be praying for the right successors to come along.

    • Thank you so much Joel. It has been a very challenging decision. We are excited about the changes coming though, it helps to heal the hurts running just under the surface.

  7. Christina says:

    Hi Vicky. My family and a couple friends that we currently raise turkeys with are very interested and would love to chat with you and get more information! My email address is wooliewares@gmail.com thanks =)

  8. Tiffany says:

    Hi, I too have an interesting story ( of sorts) and have a small herd of goats, chickens and a Llama. I also have 20yrs in Horticulture. I would love to learn more, and share more of my story with you too!

  9. Pingback: Sabbatical? Sort of… | LittleBrownFarm

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