YA Apprenticeship: Sand Springs Ranch – Lac La Biche, AB

Posted by Dana Penrice on November 16, 2017 1 Comment

Are you an aspiring farmer looking to gain experience on an organic farm? Are you wanting to learn about agriculture education? Sand Springs Ranch is offering a unique apprenticeship program providing experience in organic livestock and vegetable production while offering opportunities to work with them on in-classroom agriculture education and farm tours.

About the Farm

Sand Springs Ranch, located near Lac La Biche, Alberta is run by Ty and Janice Shelton, their daughter Jolene and son Tyler.  Including Ty and Janice’s grandchildren, there are 3 generations working on this farm. A certified organic farm, Sand Springs Ranch includes a large certified organic market garden, a certified organic, grass-fed beef enterprise and pasture-raised pork and chicken enterprises. Sand Springs Ranch is focused on continually trying new and innovative crops, farming methods and marketing strategies. They market through farmer’s markets, CSAs and wholesale. This farm also has a strong passion in agriculture education and teaching others about what they are doing. 


About the Apprenticeship

Through this apprenticeship you’ll learn about market gardening from production through to marketing. Since a diverse garden is a happy garden, you will learn about numerous  vegetable crops and about varieties that grow well in Alberta. As part of the apprenticeship you will also gain experience in agriculture education through the Agriculture in the Classroom program and in helping to put on farm tours.

Sand Springs Ranch will also provide you with livestock experience with cattle, pigs and poultry. Learn about the principles of grass-fed beef production and raising Berkshire pigs and chickens for meat and eggs. Because of the farm’s diversity, this apprenticeship offers you the opportunity to develop your skills in different enterprises and learn about what kinds of production fit you best.

As part of the apprenticeship, you will meet with other apprentices across Alberta who are part of the Young Agrarians Apprenticeship program. Field days, learning opportunities and potlucks will be planned with this group at each hosts farm. You will be provided with a learning fund to support travel or other learning opportunities you wish to pursue.  You will also be invited to attend the 2018 Organic Alberta Conference .

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 to a learning plan with the host farm.

POULTRY HUSBANDRYwholesale marketing
GrazingCSA marketing
Green House ManagementSOIl FERTILITY / nutrient management
nutrient food productionMulti-species cover cropping


Housing, Stipend and Duration

Apprentices will live in separate housing.  A minimal to moderate stipend will be paid depending on length of stay and expertise. You will work alongside other staff and employees. This apprenticeship is 1 year.

About the Community

Lac La Biche is the closest town nearby and offers all services. The region offers lots of recreation opportunities with lots of parks, fishing, etc bordering lots of crown land to explore.  It is two and a half hours away from Edmonton. 

More Details about this Apprenticeship and How to Apply 


Interested in an Apprenticeship but this isn’t quite the right one? Check out other Young Agrarians Alberta Apprenticeships being offered in 2017 here.