you dreaming of having an organic or sustainable sheep farm?
apprenticeship at SkyLines Farm is a terrific way to get
hands-on, real-life experience in the mechanics and the
business of raising sheep by organic and sustainable methods and
successfully direct-marketing their products.
Whether you're a shepherd
already, or just investigating sheep as a possible venture,
an apprenticeship at SkyLines Farm will give you the
experience and the tools you need to make informed choices
for your future. This could be the turning point that makes
your small farm dream come true!
UPDATE: I've retired from the sheep portion of my farm business
and am no longer offering March to November sheep apprenticeships. For other learning opportunities
at SkyLines Farm check out
Farm Immersions or Small Farm
ALSO ... If you live in the Moscow ID area, a less intensive mentoring option is still available ...
* Special Work Trade Mentoring Option for local person *
Each year I arrange with 1 or 2 individuals living in the
Moscow ID area for a work trade, in which we trade a few days per month of farm labor for education. This generally runs between
April and October. We spend half the day
learning what you want and need to learn about raising livestock by organic & sustainable methods, and half the day you'll work
with me on a current farm labor project. You need to be healthy, fit, love working outdoors and with animals ... and not mind getting dirty:)
If this sounds like it might be a good match for you, check out more details. Read about my former apprenticeship program below, check out the
rest of this website for info on my management practices & philosophy, and then drop me a note to begin the discussion. The earlier you start the
process the better!
SHEEP PRODUCTION APPRENTICESHIPS
(Full-scale apprenticeships no longer available - for informational purposes only)
I've been raising sheep by organic and sustainable methods since 1992.
Raising livestock and farming without chemicals was practically unheard of back
then, so I've spent years networking with other organic and sustainable
shepherds, reading countless books and attending classes,
workshops, conferences, seminars, and farm tours, all
focused on learning how to raise sheep well, how to profit
from their products, and how to manage the farm in a
sustainable manner. I've also kept very detailed flock
records that I use to improve my management practices every
In the process, I've
slowly grown the SkyLines flock from 5 ewes to as many as 100 high quality ewes and their lambs. I'm
committed to sharing this hard-won experience with others
who harbor the same dream I've had since childhood - to live
and work on a small farm in the company of happy, healthy,
I am accredited as a Farmer-Mentor through Cultivating
Success, a joint program of The University of Idaho,
Washington State University, and Rural Roots. The
Cultivating Success program offers classes and
on-farm apprenticeships to help promote small-scale
sustainable agriculture (see www.cultivatingsuccess.org).
Drawing on my
experience writing corporate training programs and working
as a technical writer (in a former life, thank goodness!),
I've developed a detailed curriculum for SkyLines Farm
apprenticeships based on my years of study and practical
Length of Apprenticeships
Apprenticeships run from March 1 to November 1. Apprentices
commute to the farm one day a week during these 8 months to work alongside me with farm
activities occurring during that season. (If you don't live in the Moscow area and/or you are limited to a
shorter period for learning, please see Farm Immersions.)
apprenticeship I will provide you with informal lectures on the details of raising sheep by organic and sustainable
methods, plus direct hands-on experience in all
aspects of raising sheep and selling their products. You'll have access to a my own
extensive library of reading materials plus recommendations for other resources to round out your education.
You will compensate me for my time and effort in teaching you with your labor on the farm.
Depending on the season
you may be asked to help with:
Feeding sheep; shearing & preparing fleeces for sale;
caring for pregnant ewes and their newborn lambs; fence repair &
improvements; maintaining electric
fences; moving sheep through the managed rotational grazing
system; barn cleaning & composting barn waste; mowing sheep
pastures; getting in hay for winter feeding; trimming
hooves; garlicking sheep for parasite control; evaluating
and sorting sheep for market and for breeding; overseeing
processing of locker lambs and/or delivering lamb to local
customers, and much more.
Other farm work may
include helping with: Maintaining farm equipment;
maintaining and improving farm buildings and farm house;
getting in firewood for the winter; caring for laying hens;
maintaining the organic vegetable garden; helping with on-farm
workshops and tours, and more.
Hours of work in exchange for teaching will be arranged to
suit both of our schedules, and will vary based on the
On-farm housing is not available. You need to live in the Moscow, Idaho area in order to commute to the farm weekly.
For this to be a
positive experience, you should . . .
- Have a strong desire
to learn the mechanics and the business of raising sheep
by organic and sustainable methods, and direct-marketing their products
- Have a deep love &
compassion for animals and enjoy working hands on with
- Be very strong,
healthy, physically fit, love working outdoors (and not mind getting dirty:)
For my part, I
will do my best to make your SkyLines Farm experience . .
- Inspirational and
If an apprenticeship here
at SkyLines Farm sounds like a good foundation for a life
you've always dreamed of . . . give me a call or
me a note!
SkyLines flock to fresh pasture is always fun since
the sheep know the routine so well . .
Farm of Idaho
4551 Highway 6, Harvard, Idaho 83834
(In beautiful northern Idaho, south of Coeur
d'Alene & north of Moscow)