Millsap Farm, Springfield Missouri

Millsap Farm is a 20 acre organic farm 4 miles north of Springfield, MO. We have a diverse operation including a 6,000 s.f. greenhouse, 4,000 s.f. of solar heated hoop houses, 

3 acres of vegetables, a beginning orchard, including pigs, chickens, turkeys,  forest, ponds, etc. on our 20 acres, plus 10 acres of leased land.  The farm is managed organically, meaning we focus on soil health, using compost, cover crops, and manure as our primary fertility sources, and avoid the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.  Our farm is located close enough to a metropolitan area that we get to host many tours a year, from beginning farmers to preschools, and education is a big part of the reason we do what we do.  We believe that it’s important for eaters to re-connect with the source of their food, and that’s what we’re here for.  We sell our produce through our 75 member Community Supported Agriculture program, three grocery stores (Mama Jeans and Homegrown Food), an on-farm market, and the Farmers Market of the Ozarks.

Community is also a big part of what we do here on the farm; at any given time we have at least 3 families living on the farm,and we hope in the long term to have at least 4 families in full-time residency.  In addition to these permenant residents, we host a number of guest workers and volunteers through the season, including WWOOFers from all over the world, interns and apprentices, and daily volunteers from the Springfield metro area. We host community weekly Thursday night Pizza dinners during the warmer months.

We are currently seeking apprentices and interns for the 2013-2014 growing season. This involves working along side us in the field to harvest vegetables for a 75+ member CSA and several farmers markets, along with seeding, transplanting, weeding and pest control.  Animal care including feeding, watering, fencing, butchering (poultry) and record keeping. Construction and tractor work to include construction of a hoop house, field renovation, cutting firewood, clearing trees, and animal housing. Marketing including our CSA (community supported agriculture) program, our on-farm produce stand and bedding plants, and several farmers markets a week. Interns and apprentices will also be a part of the planning and evaluation process as we continuously improve our farm.  On a farm all tasks take time, and time is a precious resource, so it is important to learn to accomplish tasks quickly and effectively.  The work is long hours (usually 6 days a week, at least 10 hours per day), hard physical work (carrying heavy bags,boxes, etc, digging, weeding), and often in difficult weather conditions (when it’s harvest day we have to get out in the fields and harvest whether it’s raining or 100 degrees).  Farm work can be repetitive, monotonous, and tedious, not to mention uncomfortable.  On the other hand, it comes with it’s own rewards, (if you’re into this sort of thing, which we obviously are, as we keep doing it year after year) such as a beautiful place to work, the satisfaction of accomplishing something at the end of a day, and sleeping very soundly.

Millsap Farms is one of the founding farms of Ozarks CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training).  As part of this program, we will tour other farms in the area, attend monthly seminars about topics related to farming (such as weed and pest control, soil fertility management, farm business planning, small fruit management, livestock on the farm, marketing, etc.) and attend a statewide conference in the fall. For more information about Ozarks CRAFT, check out the Ozarks CRAFT website.
In return for 60 hours a week of work apprentices and interns will receive a hands-on education in sustainable farming, and if they wish, a chance to create and develop a complementary enterprise on our farm (such as pastured poultry, beekeeping, dairy, cut flowers, or 101 other things to do on the farm). Interns will receive room and board and a $200 monthly stipend after their first month on the farm. Apprentices will receive room and board, plus a monthly stipend to be determined by experience and commitment, plus possible earnings from their complementary enterprise, with bonuses for completion of their commitment, and possibly a long-term job offer with land tenure. Long-term apprentice housing is in the “Stuga”, a small cabin with full facilities, near the main farm house, and in a bedroom in the lower area of the main farmhouse.  Summer intern housing is in the “Chateau”, a two bedroom shack in the woods, with no electricity or running water; kitchen and bath facilities are rustic. Breakfast and supper are on your own, with full access to the farm house pantry, freezers, etc.  Lunch is provided at the farm house, eating with our family.

Intern candidates are people who want to explore agriculture from the inside out, with a relatively short commitment (minimum 3 months).  Interns should be willing to work hard, learn fast, and adapt.  There is a lot to learn if you’ve never worked on a farm before, and it’s important that intern candidates be willing to jump in feet first, and learn as they go.  Sense of humor is important, and goes a long way toward making the work enjoyable, along with an appreciation of the outdoors, in all different scenarios.

Our ideal apprentice candidate is someone who desires to farm on their own at some point in the future, who wants to learn sustainable agriculture from the inside out, who is willing and able to work long and hard, who has a sense of humor, who is able to take instruction and give constructive feedback, who can interface with our customers in an intimate setting, is responsible and committed, and able to live and work closely with us. Ability to self-educate about particular areas of interest, plus interest in talking about why we do things the way we do are also important to the apprentice experience. Experience farming and/or working with equipment including tractors, hand tools, mowers, construction tools, etc. would certainly be a plus, but is not completely necessary, flexibility is key, and we will provide the know-how.

Couples and families are welcome to apply.  Some of our best apprentice experiences have been with families.

Internships will run a minimum of May 1 to August 15, and preferably longer.  (could start as early as March, and actually we have intern opportunities year round).

Apprenticeships are longer term, at least 6 months, and filled as available. We have an apprenticeship open right now, to be filled by the first qualified applicant 1.

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27 Responses to Millsap Farm, Springfield Missouri

  1. Tim Shaw says:

    Do ever take day or weekend volunteers. We could provide our own lodging. I just want to expose my wife and child to community farming in person.

    • farmercurtis says:

      Yes we take volunteers of all sorts and combinations, so let us know your interest and we will try and fit you in! We are super family friendly since we have 8 darlings ourself!

  2. Serena says:

    Is there any possibility you’d take me this late in season even if I’m willing to work until early February?

    • farmercurtis says:

      Serena,
      We happen to have two positions open right now, one on Urban Roots farm (my brother and sister-in-laws farm), and one on Millsap Farm (my place). Take a look at both profiles and our websites, fill out an application, and send it in. We’ll get you set up for an internship at one place or the other, or perhaps you can split time if you’d rather. I know my farm would love to have someone who is interested in being here through the winter season, as there is plenty of farm work to do that time of year, just as there is right now. We grow in about 10,000 s.f. of greenhouses, so we always have stuff to plant, tend, and harvest, plus maintenance and repair during the winter, and of course we cut a lot of firewood, and plan for the upcoming season. If you have questions, feel free to contact me at 417-839-0847.
      Thanks,
      Curtis

  3. Christian Schwartz says:

    Hello,

    My name is Christian Schwartz and I currently work on a small, free-range farm in Columbiana, OH. I am planning on moving to Springfield as soon as the means to live there become available. An apprenticeship with either Millsap or Urban Roots would be an answer to prayers since farming is my passion and I plan on starting one on my own someday. Are either of those apprenticeships still open? If so; When can I start!

  4. Crystal Millager says:

    Hello, I am a student at Aurora high school. And we are looking at places to take educational tours. I was wondering if you provided any or had any available. If not thank you for your time anyways.
    Sincerely,
    Crystal

    • farmercurtis says:

      Crystal,
      We love to host educational tours. We have two arrangements; in one scenario, you just tour the farm, and pay $2/head, $50 minimum for a 1.5 hour (or less if you have time constraints). We’ll show you the gardens, the greenhouses, talk about marketing, learning the craft of farming, check out the pastured poultry (seasonal), and talk about what it means to be a sustainable family farm. Option 2 allows you to work off the cost of your tour, so we start with a 1-1.5 hour tour, and then you all work with us on the farm for an hour or so. This gives us a chance to get to know you all better, and gives you a chance to get your hands dirty contributing to making our farm a success. Work party’s generally get to do large scale clean-up projects, or soil moving (for example building raised beds), or bed renovation (including cleaning up old crops and spreading new mulch). Either way, we’d be glad to host your group. Just give me a call or e-mail,and we’ll arrange it.
      Thanks,
      Curtis

  5. Brian S Andrews says:

    I am interested in an internship/apprenticeship. I am offering a long term commitment to the Host Farm. If possible I would like to discuss the options available. I have experience working with beef cattle,dairy farms, and vegetable gardening. I have a willingness to learn and excel in team based environments.

    Thanks for your time,
    Brian

  6. Stacey ritch says:

    I am the gm of the east st louis chipotle in spfld and im wanting to take my managers on a tour of an organic farm. How much would something like that cost? And what days do you do them? there would be three to five of us. Thanks

  7. Tyler Messier says:

    Very interested in whatever is available. I want to own my own farm one day. Am available to start asap. My father owned a small farm with chickens, hogs, beef cow, and a large garden. I only stayed with him in the summer from 9 years old to about 12. I absolutely love gardening. I am on my third year of having my own organic garden in my back yard in nixa mo, south of springfield. I prefer the minimal living way of life. I am 28 years old will be 29 this may. I have some mechanical knowledge. Have ran mowers, chainsaw, wood splitters and tractors.

  8. lindsey says:

    hello my name is Lindsey I am 20 years old. I am a total downhome country girl that loves to get her hands dirty. I have been lookin for a job that’s goin to keep me on my toes and goin all day long. I have a 1 year old son. I just feel like this would be an amazing opportunity for me. please feel free to contact me about any jobs you have open. I am easy to train and always willing to learn and I have open availability. thank you. 4177661055 .

    • farmercurtis says:

      Lindsey, sounds like you love farm life, which is great. We however, do not offer jobs but rather internship with the chance to learn alongside experienced farmers. Hope this helps, if you think an internship is a fit for what you are wanting, check out our farm list and apply. If not, good luck on the job search.

  9. Mary says:

    My family and I are planning to purchase land sometime in February. We are wanting to farm using the same methods you described, only on a smaller scale. There is only so much you can learn from watching videos and reading articles, and books. I have been searching for farms in this area that would allow us to spend an average day working on their land. Then I found your site. I was hesitant to ask because the article says minimum of three months staying on the land. Then I saw the comment below. I would absolutely love the ability to stay on the land to gain a full experience. However in order for us to stay on task with purchasing our own that is not something we can do. Our hope is that you allow myself and my family the ability to show up and be put straight to work. The only payment we wish to receive is knowledge. I have four children, and my younger brother with me, which makes a total of 7. However, i would only be bringing 5 with us when, and if we are invited to do so. The two younger children are far to young to tag along, at least for this journey. I wish we could stay for a few days but we can not afford to leave our jobs. Although we are close enough, that we would be able to return additional days if it seems fit to do so.

    • farmercurtis says:

      Mary,
      I’m sorry, I’m not sure we ever responded to you. We would welcome you and your family to come work with us sometime. We usually have volunteers work with us on Wednesdays. Give me a call if you want to come work with us sometime.
      thanks,
      curtis

  10. Pamela Barr says:

    I am very interested in learning about your full time apprenticeship program. It is my goal to have a farm in the future. Thank you in advance for your help.

  11. Lisa Flentge says:

    I really want to learn. I work part time and have my own small farm project but I’m willing to put in as much time as I have available. I am in my 50s so I’m not as strong as I used to be. I have thought about doing a community farm at our place but have no experience with it. I want to also learn hydroponics and aquaponics do you do either of these? I have experience with dairy goats and other farm animals.

  12. Nolan Long says:

    I will be going into my junior year of highschool after this summer and plan on getting just enough credits to graduate a year early. I was hoping to work here for a year before joining the marines but I will be 17. Can you work here at 17 or do you have to be 18?

    • farmercurtis says:

      We take interns, it’s not employment it is an educational 1st hand opportunity to learn to farm.

  13. Lindsay Branch says:

    Hey there!
    I’m looking to apply for your apprenticeship program, but once I downloaded the application, I realized it was for the 2015 season. Is there a link available for the 2016 season yet that I’m managing to pass over?
    Thanks in advance for your help!

  14. dennis palmer says:

    do you take volunteers

  15. Anjali Edson says:

    Hello,
    My name is Angie and I have been looking to gain experience through volunteering in farming. I am planning on becoming a missionary to southeast Asia and would love to learn about this. Are there any openings this summer?

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