Assistant STOCKPERSON/ GENERAL FARM WORKER

Knepp Castle Estate is a privately owned family estate near Horsham in West Sussex, extending to about 3,500 acres.

We are an unusual estate and not a typical farm.  For the past 18 years, we have been pioneering a system of land management that has not been carried out on our scale anywhere in England, and we manage much of the land principally for wildlife and nature conservation.  This has become known as rewilding.

Our head stock person, Patrick Toe, has been with the estate since 2008.  He manages two of the three herds of longhorn cattle and our handful of pigs, which alongside Exmoor ponies and deer are the herbivores that drive the habitat.  Pat also manages our fleet of farm vehicles and equipment, and the farm generally.

Pat is assisted occasionally by Andy (a neighbouring farmer who manages the third herd of longhorns), Craig (who helps part time on the farm and most of the time on the wider estate) and until now by a fulltime third person who has recently left us.

A role therefore exists for a full-time all-rounder, with a genuine interest and leaning towards livestock, to assist Pat.

The principle tasks are as follows:

  • Livestock – we are organic and our cattle are outwintered and generally are not artificially fed (except the bulls).  We practice Bud Williams’ style of stockmanship and use Temple Grandin designed handling facilities.  The livestock still need checking and gathering.  Calving may require additional hours of work.  Livestock work makes up the largest part of the role.

  • White Stork Project – This species reintroduction project is lead by a third party, but stork feeding and managing of the food supply as well as other duties will form part of the role.  Generally, this will account for 5-6 hours/week + projects.

  • Forestry & firewood – occasional assistance with this type of work

  • Fencing – maintenance of deer fencing is quite a large part of the role

  • Vehicle & machinery routine cleaning and maintenance

  • Field work – topping, harrowing and rolling in some areas + seasonal ragwort pulling.  Ragwort control mostly takes place for two weeks in the summer alongside seasonal hired-in labour

  • Assisting other departments – the estate is diverse, and there are times when we all pull together, for example at public events

  • Miscellaneous – the job will inevitably be varied!

This is not an exhaustive list!

Skills & Qualifications

We consider that an interest in nature conservation alongside a strong interest in working with livestock will be an advantage.

We recognise that it is unlikely that applicants will have the skills to complete all the role.  Training will be provided as required, but we anticipate that the applicant will have had some agricultural training and experience.

Please therefore indicate in your application whether there is anything that you cannot / will not do, and indeed whether there are any other skills that you could bring to the position.

Hours of Work

We are looking for someone prepared to work 40 hours / week, with occasional weekend work, overtime (particularly at calving & crises) and holiday cover to support Pat and the farm team.

Accommodation & transport

Accommodation can be provided for the role.  A farm 4WD will also be available

Holiday

21 days holiday + statutory days.

Salary

Depending on experience, qualifications, training needs and accommodation requirements

To apply for this role please email your CV and covering letter to jason@knepp.co.uk