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Grown Here at Home: Farm offers apprenticeship for those interested in farming

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 10:48 AM EDT
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CHECK, Va. (WDBJ) - If you want to be a farmer, you might want to get your feet wet before taking a deep dive into it.

“Part of our vision is to provide a means for people who want to learn how to do it without taking all the risk. Right now we have three interns that have stayed on for another year, and they’re getting themselves into positions of management,” said Cedric Shannon, owner and operator of Weathertop Farm in Check.

Neil Telling is one of them. He went through the program last year.

“It’s a commitment. It’s a lot of work, especially in the summer time it gets pretty intense. There’s a lot of chickens and they take a lot of work. But also, it’s really nice to be outside and enjoy the fresh air every day and be able to work with animals,” he said.

Neil’s also learned more about the business side of things, like how to scale a farm operation.

“Figuring out how to take care of 500 broilers versus 50. Obviously sometimes different systems work better for larger numbers of animals,” he said.

“Many people come here and realize, this is awesome and I want to support you, but I’m not going to live like that,” explained Cedric.

That’s just the reality of it. But every now and again, you get someone like Neil.

“And then there’s this few that are really dedicated to it. And they both love what they’re doing and they also love the whole idea that [they’re] doing something good for the land and good for the people. It’s just a sense of wholeness about it that this is one of the few things in life that really has goodness at all these different levels. There’s integrity from the soil to the product; and it’s appealing enough that some people are willing to commit their whole lifestyle to that,” Cedric said.

Click here to learn more about Weathertop Farm’s apprenticeship program.

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