Willowsford Conservancy is seeking a full-time, year-round Farm Manager to oversee the day-to-day operations and long-term development of Willowsford Farm, a sustainably-managed farm in northern Virginia that grows and sells fresh produce, eggs and value-added products directly to residents of Willowsford and surrounding communities.
The Farm Manager position requires strong growing, business management and communication skills. We are looking for an experienced farmer with an entrepreneurial spirit to continue developing the creative vision for the farm as well as implement that vision. The qualified candidate will have successfully managed a similar farm operation and will be a team player with enthusiasm for organic, regenerative farming and stewardship of natural resources. The Farm Manager must enjoy working within a non-profit organization integrated with a residential community, and be committed to developing a financially viable operation using best business practices.
Willowsford Conservancy is an integral part of the developing Willowsford community, located in Aldie and Ashburn, Virginia. A non-profit established in 2011, the Conservancy is the steward of 2,000 acres of open space. Its mission is “… the viable, long-term use of the land, integrating farming, recreation, conservation and education to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Willowsford and the greater community.”
A part of Willowsford Conservancy, Willowsford Farm manages approximately 18 acres for vegetable, herb, fruit and flower production, including hoop houses for seedlings and winter shares, and more than 200 acres of livestock pasture in Willowsford’s Grange, Greens and Grant villages. The farm is well equipped with machinery, equipment and facilities. The farm grows produce following organic methods, raises pastured pork, and produces cage-free eggs. These products are sold through CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) memberships and a farm stand.
Willowsford Conservancy helps residents connect with food, the land and each other through the Farm and CSA program, education and recreation programs, and sustainable land management practices. The Farm’s primary goal is to provide high‐quality, sustainably grown produce to residents and the greater community. Planned production for 2018 includes 250-300 CSA vegetable shares, 80-100 winter vegetable shares, 800 laying hens, and 30 pigs.
Reporting to the Conservancy Executive Director and leading a team of year-round and seasonal farmers, the Farm Manager will work closely with the Retail Manager, the Conservancy land stewardship team, the HOA, and the Land Development team to ensure that Conservancy and Community objectives are being met. The Farm Manager will be committed to the mission of Willowsford Conservancy and embrace our community’s values, image and goals.
Compensation: We offer a competitive salary, commensurate with experience, starting at $75,000. Benefits include medical and dental coverage, 401(k) retirement plan, paid time off (typically taken during the winter), and performance-based annual bonus potential. Weekend & extended hours required during the growing season.
The Farm Manager is expected to live on-site in the newly completed single-family tenant house (3-bedroom, 2,100 sf, unfurnished). The rent is 50% of fair market value plus utilities.
Qualifications & Experience
- BS or MS degree in Agronomy, Production Ag or related degree required, preferably with emphasis in organic or sustainable agriculture
- At least 5 years of hands-on and management experience in organic vegetable production with knowledge of a wide range of crops and growing practices. Must include experience with farm business management, facility management, employee supervision, CSA, and marketing.
- Excellent communications, interpersonal and organizational skills
- Positive and effective crew leader with a strong work ethic
- Self-directed, creative thinker and team player
- Demonstrated proficiency operating and maintaining farm equipment and implements
- Experience in all aspects of crop production from propagation to planting, growing, harvesting, packaging, and storage
- Experience in organic and regenerative agricultural practices with strong knowledge of plant health, fertility management, pest and disease management, weed suppression, and greenhouse management
- Proficient with computers, mobile devices, commonly used software, social media, office equipment and business practices
- Some livestock production experience preferred
- Experience with capital project management preferred
- Must have a valid driver’s license and clean driving record
- Must be able to comfortably lift and/or move 50lbs and work outdoors in all types of weather
Primary responsibilities: The Farmer Manager oversees Willowsford Farm’s vegetable, herb and fruit production and CSA, including related business operations, wholesale marketing, infrastructure and equipment. The Farm Manager oversees egg and pork production, and assists with developing and executing a long-term strategy for Willowsford Farm.
- Develop and implement production plans consistent with organic standards to serve CSA members and markets, for field and hoop house production. Include plans for propagation, harvest, crop selections, crop rotation & sequencing, cultivation, pest and disease management, harvesting, storage, soil fertility, and work schedules.
- Hire, train and supervise farm employees and volunteers; facilitate a respectful and team-oriented work environment, and positive community engagement
- Plan and manage seeding, raising transplants, planting, cultivation, watering, harvesting and post-harvest processing to meet production goals and assure high product quality; participate in daily work as needed
- Operate and train staff on farm equipment; oversee and assist with maintenance and repair
- Holistically manage soil fertility, weed, pest and disease control, and promote biodiversity; maintain production integrity according to organic principles and practices; maintain technical expertise in organic and regenerative farming
- Oversee egg and pork production
CSA and Marketing
- Manage CSA program, and wholesale of produce and pork. Develop and implement sales and marketing plans; manage customer database and relationships, sales, deliveries and record keeping.
- Oversee harvest, preparation, packing and distribution of CSA and wholesale products; ensure food quality and food safety standards are met
- Closely coordinate with Retail Manager on Willowsford Farm Stand sales and CSA distribution.
Outreach and Education
- Manage Farm communications. Oversee CSA newsletter and maintain content on the Farm website. Create and post social media updates on Farm activities.
- Participate in marketing initiatives to promote the Conservancy, Farm, and Willowsford brand
- Occasionally support community programs and events related to culinary education, farming and land stewardship
- Support overall Conservancy and community operations through participation in meetings and activities, progress reports, and proactive communication with the Conservancy, HOA and Development teams, the Conservancy Board of Trustees, and the greater community
- Ensure compliance with local, state and federal regulations. Ensure compliance with safety regulations and lead in the Farm’s safety program.
- Maintain records related to production, regulations and business operations. Analyze and make recommendations for improving the operations and financial performance of the farm.
- Create and manage annual operations and capital budget. Assist with writing grants for farm related funding. Plan and implement capital improvement projects.
- Oversee ordering of farm business inputs and services in accordance with the budget; maintain inventories
- Oversee maintenance and repair of equipment, facilities and infrastructure, including fields and surrounding areas. Maintain a safe, clean, inviting and organized environment for staff, customers and visitors.
- Manage vendors, consultants and contractors
- The position and the Farm may evolve; other duties as assigned
To apply: Please send a resume, cover letter and professional references to: email@example.com. Application Deadline: Applications will be reviewed immediately until the position is filled.