Monday, July 29, 2013

The Internship - Part I

Currently I am in the process of finishing up my internship.  I have actually put in the entire 180 hrs and then some.  But I am finding there is still a lot more that I want to learn so this might be a never ending internship, morphed into an apprenticeship, on farm or ranch job someplace and eventually our own farm or ranch.  We have already started our initial entrance into livestock with some Cornish cross broilers we are raising on pasture.  Broilers and chickens in general are the gateway drug into the livestock business.

The pasture pen I constructed with 25 Cornish Cross Broilers.  Actually
now only 24 due to a vicious attack of a coon that left one dead and
two maimed for life.  The  2x3 boards sticking up have wheels on them that
when you push them down it lifts up the pen for moving to a new patch of grass.
But back to the internship.  The requirements of the internship are that each student complete a minimum of 180-hrs of work on a farm, business or organization that practices some or all aspects of sustainable food production.  A journal has to be kept during the entire internship during which students are to record dates and hours worked.  Also documented in the journal are the unique things learned and observed.  At the completion of the internship students have to submit a paper that addresses the internship competencies. A word of advice to future students, adding sufficient detail to your journal will help you remember what all you did throughout your internship and will make writing the paper easier.  The seven competencies to be addressed in the paper are: 1) Apply natural science knowledge to the internship experience; 2) Apply social science knowledge to the internship experience; 3) Illustrate the sustainability principals displayed at the internship site; 4) Describe the sustainable food production methods used at the internship site; 5) Demonstrate the business management used at the internship site; 6) Demonstrate the marketing tools used at the internship site; 7) Outline the sustainable food production skills developed at the internship site.

Sows just after they were moved to their spring farrowing pasture.
We are praying for warm weather before they give birth
I was fortunate enough to obtain an internship at Seven Pines Farm and Fence.  7-Pines afforded me the opportunity to learn more about grassed based agriculture specifically dairy, rotational grazing (dairy, pastured pork, chickens), and cover cropping (including tractor fieldwork) as well as working on a big fence building job that included construction of a 5-strand barbwire fence.  There where also opportunities to learn additional animal husbandry skills with newborn calves, pigs and chicks. In addition to the time spent at 7-Pines I was able to supplement my internship experience with some additional learning experiences; by spending a couple of days at the permaculture based Paradox Farms (dairy goats, cows (both hand milked) hair sheep, experimental gardens, bailing small squares of hay; and spending a day working for Andy Hayner learning the art of processing chickens.  I also attended workshops on cheese making, small ruminants (goats and sheep), pastured pork, and cover crops for soil health.

The following are some pictures documenting the internship experience of the worlds oldest intern.
Hogs in their winter home

Baby lambs at Paradox Farm

This  Paradox Farm calves father is one of Gerald Frys bulls

Happy Pigs on pasture at Seven Pines Farm and Fence

Six nursing at once would give any mother a headache!

This sow buried her pigs in the straw to help keep them warm and safe

This picture documents the excellent manure distribution achieved with
winter bale grazing of this pasture.  Purpose was to increase organic matter
and nutrients to improve soil health of pasture.

Pasture Pork Workshop at Seven Pines Farm and Fence 
Pastured Pork video

Calf stays with mother for the first 24 to 48 hours and then is weaned

Weaning the calf

Weaned calf has to be taught how to drink from a bottle.
Calf is being fed milk from mother.  They are weaned and bottle fed because it makes
them tamer, better handling milk cows when the grow up.
I will post the rest of the photos from my internship in Part-II

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