Be a part of the Alderspring Ranch summer 2019 conservation range riding crew! We are looking for hardworking individuals with grit, character, and a passion for Idaho’s wild country.
Note: In 2019 we will not be offering internships, but we have several employment positions open.
The Ranch: Alderspring is a grass-fed certified organic beef ranch in the Rocky Mountains of Idaho. The ranch headquarters consists of 1000 acres of pasture positioned in the Pahsimeroi Valley. The range, where we herd our cattle for four months each summer, is comprised of 70 square miles of rugged rangeland accessible by dirt roads, and, when the four wheel drive trucks fail and the roads become trails, horseback. We’ve been producing grass fed beef for over 25 years, and we’re passionate about raising the best nutrient dense beef possible in a way that benefits and regenerates the wild landscapes we steward.
The Project: As one of our crew members, you would be part of our five-year pilot project to reinvent the way we handle our cattle on the open range using our Inherding paradigm. With Inherding, a crew of 2-4 individuals lives with the cattle on our remote grasslands 24/7, herding them by day and bedding them down by night. There are three main goals of the inherding project: First, eliminate lethal conflicts with wolves and other predators due to a human presence with the herd. Second, avoid ecologically sensitive areas or endangered species habitats that may be damaged by cattle. And third, herd the beeves “in” to non-sensitive areas with the best grass to bring about increased weight gains and ultimately nutrient-dense, intensely flavorful beef for our customers. To learn more about Inherding and see tons of pictures from the last three years on the range, check out our Instagram, @alderspring_ranch (linked to at the bottom of this page).
The Job: Conservation riders will be a part of a 2 to 4-person team that will rotate into the backcountry for 4-7 days at a time. You’ll be camping in remote mountain country with limited amenities but will have unlimited access to pristine water, the heady scent of sagebrush after a rain, and night skies resplendent with uncompromised night light from the Milky Way. A typical day is at least 11 hours or up to 16, and they can be long and physically grueling. You’ll spend these days horseback herding 300-400 head of cattle with your other crew members and a few border collies. It could be one-hundred degrees and sunny, snowing, or pouring rain (or all three–in the same day).
Up to 8 different cow camps will serve as central base as the herd gains 4000 feet of elevation over the summer. Total distances covered on horseback over the summer while grazing will exceed 500 miles. A stove, lantern and grill on a table covered by a tarp serve as the kitchen. Access to drinking water is always provided via a spring source or filtered creek water. Hours of sleep rarely exceed 6 hours a night; bedrolls are made on the ground in tents or out in the open (your option).
Rotations usually end up meaning that a rider will rack up about 160 hours at minimum per month, but because the days on the range are long, you’ll end up with several 4 to 7 day blocks of time off to rest, recuperate, and explore the expansive mountain country the ranch is located in. Riders in the past have had time to go visit Glacier and Yellowstone parks on their time off. If you want more work in this time off, riders may also work around the ranch headquarters, help with rangeland monitoring (mainly gathering rangeland and plant health monitoring data–many of our previous range ecology majors have found this to be great hands-on experience), and with weed management (which may include hand-pulling, grubbing, or predatory insect dispersal due to our non-chemical organic program).
This position is not only physically demanding, but is mentally challenging as well. Applicants must be able to function in a team situation even in times of extreme fatigue. They should also be able to make decisions independently without input from a supervisor and be prepared to adjust, as plans are constantly changing according to weather or the cattle’s movement. They should be able to keep their mind occupied so as to handle the quiet and downtime while cattle graze (interestingly, this is pretty important!). There is no cell phone service in most of the range country, and social media addicts need not apply.
But for a gritty and happy individual with a love for the mountains who finds pleasure in working with a great team and the animals they care for, this is one of the most rewarding jobs out there. Many of the crew members from previous years have come back to do it again. Others wish they could.
The Person: We’re looking for someone with:
- A positive attitude and a willingness to learn
- A teachable and humble mindset
- Grit and determination
- An ability to work well on a team but think independently
- Good physical fitness
- A strong character, supportable by references
- An interest in learning about inherding, organic & sustainable beef production, and stockmanship
- A passion for land and animals
Not required: Experience with horses or cattle or higher education, though these factors will be considered. Also not required is horse gear, although personal dress gear including boots, raingear, range wearable clothing and a bedroll/sleeping bag is expected. You’ll receive a packing list if you are selected.
Rules on the ranch are: no smoking, no drinking, no drugs, and of course maintaining common area cleanliness with respect towards your fellow crew members.
There will be 1-2 weeks of intensive training in horsemanship, stockmanship, electric fence use, wilderness first aid, firearm use (optional), rangeland ecology, leave no trace camping and team functionality preceding the deployment of crews and cattle from the ranch to the range. This training is mandatory, so the required arrival date for all crew members is May 14th. The training begins May 15th. The ideal starting date is April 30th, but it’s fine if you can’t begin by that time. The ideal ending date is September 30, but if you’re a college student and have to return to school or if you have other commitments, we can work with you.
Selection will be based on attitude, interest in sustainable agriculture and inherding, and past job performance.
Skills Gained: Employees will have an opportunity to learn about stockmanship, horsemanship, organic beef production, backcountry camping, sustainable agriculture, rangeland ecology, and many more ranch-related skills.
Compensation & Benefits: Everyone new on the ranch starts at a wage of $8 per hour (with free housing and plenty of our ground beef). Ranch headquarters amenities include simple wall-tent housing, showers, outhouse, and an indoor common dining/lounging area and a fully equipped kitchen. Employees will also have access to garden beds to grow their own produce. We also make trips into the nearby towns (30 minutes – 1 hour away) at least weekly, and you’re welcome to catch a ride.
The form above can’t be saved and edited later (once you start it, you have to complete it before closing the window or your progress will not be saved)! You can have a look at all the application questions at the bottom of this page so that you can have your answers ready when you’re prepared to submit the form. We recommend you copy the questions below and prepare your answers in a document, then copy to the form.
If above form link doesn’t work, use the link below. The application deadline is February 10th. There are limited positions. You’ll hear back from us by February 17th on whether you’ll be contacted for a phone interview. We look forward to hearing from you!
Form link if the above link doesn’t work: https://goo.gl/forms/CIX9RfsqgqLnM4oD3
See above link for the actual form!
- Contact Information
- Education Level/Information
- Please describe the three work positions you’ve held most recently, if applicable. List position title and beginning and ending (if no longer working there) dates position was held. Please also briefly describe the nature of the position and general tasks completed.
- References: Please list 3 personal/character references (for example, a pastor, family friend, or professor), and 3 work references. For each reference, please list a name, email address, phone number, and how they know you.
Getting to Know You
The following questions will help us determine whether you will be a fit for our summer crew and for the nature of the work we do during the summer in the high country. Please answer these questions honestly; there really are no wrong answers. We’re looking for a mix of personalities and skills in our crews, and honest responses will help us envision where you might fit.
- Briefly tell us a little bit about yourself, why you’re applying for this job, and why you think you’d be a good fit on our crew.
- Please describe your prior horse experience in your own words. Do you have any interest in advancing your horsemanship and riding abilities?
- Please describe your experience in the outdoors (camping trips, hiking, skiing, hunting, etc).
- Would you describe yourself as a person of grit and endurance, bearing in mind that some days can easily exceed sixteen hours in the saddle?
- Please briefly describe the concept of the intensive rangeland herding (“inherding”) method that we are striving to practice, in your own words.
- Briefly state your opinion on the following question: in terms of human wellness, conservation, and animal husbandry, why do you feel the work you will do as you ride with us this summer is important?
- Based on what you know about Alderspring and the job description, are there any particular areas of your knowledge and skills that you hope to refine or expand during your time with us (like horsemanship, backcountry camping skills, etc.)?
- Are there any special skills or prior experience you feel that you would be able to bring to the table this summer?
- Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you or how you might fit on our crew?