Posted by Sara Yagelniski on December 08, 2020

Are you an aspiring rancher looking to gain an ecological cattle and goat management experience?  Grip-Fast Farms is excited to offer an apprenticeship just for you.

About the Farm

Grip-Fast Farms is located on Treaty 2 territory, near Binscarth, MB.

Grip-Fast Farms is a fourth generation family farm operation. The farm is a mixed operation with a focus on regenerative agriculture. Currently they have a herd of about 100 cows and 20 goats on 6 quarters of owned land and they rent an additional 300 acres as well. They produce grass finished beef and goat which is marketed direct to consumers. They grow poly crops and cover crops to replenish the soil and add nutrients to their livestock’s diet.
There never really is a slow season – some are just more urgent than others! There is n
ever a dull moment and so much to learn with the cattle, goats, farmers and the land.

About the apprenticeship:

An apprentice will take part in the day to day activities which change throughout the seasons. Activities would include assisting with calving, tagging calves, kidding goats, setting up temporary fencing and moving livestock on a daily basis. The apprentice would help with checking and repairing fencing. Work will include field preparation activities, seeding, harvest, hay cutting, raking and baling and other operations as needed. Equipment operation will range from riding mowers, side by side UTV’s, small tractors, loader tractors, 4WD tractors, swathers and combines and truck and trailer work.

Maintenance on all the above equipment will be performed with the apprentice expected to take an active part. Some office work may also be required, including calving and kidding records, grazing record keeping, maintenance logs, field notes. The apprentice will also help with some marketing including website and social media maintenance. There may also be an opportunity for the apprentice to run an enterprise of their choice as well.

As part of the apprenticeship, you will meet with other apprentices across Manitoba who are part of the Young Agrarians Apprenticeship program. Field days, learning opportunities and potlucks will be planned with this group at each host’s farm. 

About the farm mentors

Doug Turnbull is the fourth generation of Turnbull’s to farm this land that his great grandfather homesteaded in 1883. He was the fifth child born of a family of 6. Everyone had a particular area of responsibility growing up, and his was to milk the cows. They sold the cream to a creamery in Russell and any excess milk was fed to pigs. This early responsibility created a desire to farm one day as it did with one of his older brothers as well. Tragically in 1983, his father died of cancer at the age of 56 and the older brother that desired to farm was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of 22. Doug was 17 at the time and the responsibility for running the farm came suddenly to his mother and him.

Eventually Doug and his wife, Carol Lanz-Turnbull, made a deal to purchase the land from his mom. Doug experimented with organic farming a bit and has always had an interest in farming without commercial chemicals and fertilizers. Fast forward about 30 years until today where they find themselves getting more and more involved with regenerative farming! Hopefully through this program, they can cultivate this interest in someone that has their full farming career ahead of them!

Skills this farm has to teach: 

The following skills are being offered by this farm. While you’ll get exposure to many of these areas, it is likely that not all will be covered. Apprentices will work to identify the skills they want to develop through a learning plan with the host farm.

Livestock husbandry ROTATIONAL GRAZING
LIVESTOCK HEALTH Goat genetics, breeding, and raising
SOIL health Machine operation and maintenance
CAttle genetics, breeding, and raising regenerative crop production
forage production Monitoring ecosystems

Skill required of the apprentice

The apprentice will need a class 5 license (at minimum) and a positive attitude with a strong desire to learn and the ability to accept that challenges will arise. The apprentice should not be afraid to ask questions and seek clarification if needed.

All weather clothing will be required as temps can range from +40 in summer to -40 in winter and beyond.

Housing, Stipend and Duration

Housing will consist of a living area above the garage that is attached to the house. There is a choice of two bedrooms, a private bathroom and a shared family room area. One  shared kitchen is available for all occupants of the house.

Laundry facilities are available with the understanding that the area be kept clean and that the apprentice will remove their clothing from the appliances promptly. Internet is available but large streaming may be restricted. Apprentices will have access to any books available and will be encouraged to read those applicable to regenerative ag.

A vehicle may be available for private use as long as it is kept clean, respected, and the fuel level maintained.

Minimum wage less $500/month for room and board.

The apprenticeship will be from April 1 to October 31st or up to 1 year.

Normal week will be 5 days – 8AM to 5PM with Sunday and one other flex day off/week. A year round apprentice would get 3 additional weeks holiday. A partial year apprentices will get 2 weeks holiday.

About the Community and Land

Binscarth MB is a small town on highway #16 and south of Russell, MB 15 minutes. It is very close to the beautiful Assiniboine river and valley and about 30-45 minutes from Assessippi provincial park. It is 3.5 hours to Winnipeg, 3 hours to Regina, SK, 1hr and 20 mins to Yorkton SK, and 1 hr and 40 mins to Brandon.

The farm is on Treaty 2 territory and the traditional and ancestral lands of Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. These communities have a deep relationship with this land based on, among other things, a spiritual connection and subsistence extending back thousands of years.

Young Agrarians recognizes the unresolved Indigenous land title and rights in the diverse territories in what is today called Canada. As we live and work in the context of and in response to a colonial system of laws and policies, it is important to acknowledge the historical and ongoing impact of agriculture and land enclosure on Indigenous lands and food systems. In this context, we acknowledge our collective responsibility to position Indigenous Peoples and their experiences with coloniality, in a narrative of reconciliation that places ecology, land stewardship, and Indigenous land title and rights at the forefront – if we are to sustain the Earth’s ecosystems in today’s rapidly changing climate.

Our deepest hope is that the future of our food systems is diverse, interconnected, and resilient, embraces people of all walks of life and sustains the water, plants, and creatures in ways that benefit and work alongside Indigenous Peoples and narratives and ways of knowing and caring for the land.

This farm, like many others, is surrounded by agricultural cultivated land, uncultivated land, Indigenous people and voices from non-settler walks of life. We encourage everyone to build relationship with the land and community that surrounds the place where you will be learning.

More Details about this Apprenticeship and How to Apply 

Deadline January 31st, 2021.

Interested in an Apprenticeship but this isn’t quite the right one? Check out other Young Agrarians  Apprenticeships being offered in 2021 here.

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