Range & Ranch Employment at Alderspring
Before you contact us about employment or internships, please read the following fREQUENTLY aSKED qUESTIONS!
Are you currently hiring?
Answer: we are not currently hiring new employees. Our hiring season is typically spring (February/March) as we look to fill positions for the upcoming year.
When is your next internship and how can apply?
Answer: our next internship application should open January 2024 IF we decide to offer the internship next year (we make that decision on a yearly basis). Please do not contact us regarding the 2024 internship until applications open in January. We have left 2023’s internship description below, but be aware that it changes on an annual basis.
Do you offer winter internships?
Answer: winter is a slow season here at the ranch. Additionally, we do not have winter housing set up for interns. As a result, we do not offer winter internships.
Can I just come out and visit/work for free to learn about what you do?
Answer: We aren’t currently set up to receive guests outside of our regular internship program, sorry. Additionally, accommodating guests is more complex than you might think, especially if those guests participate in ranch activities while they are here. There are a host of liability issues and risks in the everyday work on the ranch, and we would be legally liable if one of our guests were injured while on the ranch. This is why at this time we cannot accommodate guests.
How can I get started in ranching?
Answer: We’d recommend just contacting small family-owned ranches and asking if they would be willing to teach you in exchange for free labor. Offering to stay for a longer time period helps. Remember that if you’re asking to come and work/learn at someone’s ranch, you should be respectful of their time. Don’t pester them over the phone or with numerous emails. Ranchers are busy!
The biggest thing you can do when getting started is to be willing to learn and work hard with a great attitude. Completely get out of the mindset that you’ll get lots of horseback time. That is the “fun stuff,” in ranching, and no one is going to let you work cattle on horseback until you’ve shown that you’re not a liability when handling cattle on foot. If you want to get into this industry, you have to be willing to learn and do a lot of the not-so-fun stuff first. Not to be harsh, but if you’re getting into ranching only to ride horses, this is the wrong industry for you.
Our 2023 Internship Description:
If you have questions: Please DM us on Instagram (after reading the description below to make sure your question isn’t already answered there). Please do NOT email us! Our “help” email account is currently getting flooded with questions and we’re missing emails from our beef customers.
Thank you! We’re excited to put together another great crew for the 2023 season!
Duration: 4 weeks
Dates: There are 2 “sections” of the program this year. You can either apply for the June 1-July 1 period, or July 11-August 11.
Due to the shorter length of this internship, we can’t accept late arrivals or make exceptions. You must commit to these dates and to the full internship period. We also cannot accommodate additional time off beyond the days off that will be scheduled into the program.
Compensation: This is an unpaid internship. However, simple free no-frills housing and free ground beef is provided!
Submission deadline is February 15.
Our Mission Statement
Alderspring Ranch is a profitable family ranch raising beef to nourish human wellness while stewarding and restoring God’s creation, building sustainability for future generations.
Internship Program Description
Please note that we’ve made significant changes to our internship program this year. Read the full description below before applying!
For hardworking and humble individuals interested in learning about cattle handling, ranching, horsemanship, wilderness living, regenerative ranching practices, and practical ranch skills on a working ranch, this is the internship for you.
Interns will be part of our team here at Alderspring for a 4-week period. In previous years, the internship has been solely a range riding internship. This summer, while you will be riding the range quite a bit, you will also spend about 25% of your time on the home ranch involved in a variety of our operations there. Our goal with this change is to provide you with a more well-rounded experience.
This is not a ranch vacation. You’ll learn a lot, but come prepared for long days and hard work!
We are also not a “cowboy outfit.” We use many traditional horseback and herding practices, but we’ve also incorporated nontraditional methods in much of what we do.
Job description for the “range” portion of the internship:
You will spend 4-5 days at a time in one of our backcountry cow camps. During the day, you will be on our crew of riders herding cattle to the best grass while controlling grazing to prevent overgrazing or impact to sensitive wildlife habitat. In the evening, you’ll work with the crew to trail the herd back to cow camp, cook dinner, and hit your bedroll before doing it all again the next day.
Days on the range are often at minimum 11 hours in the saddle and up to 16. They can be long and physically grueling. There is no shelter from the weather: it could be raining, snowing, hailing, 100 degrees, or everything in between, but we still have to ride and get the cattle to grass. Camp itself is basic and portable (we move it every 5-10 days) with no modern amenities. Cell service is limited. We have a GPS texting system in case of emergency, but it isn’t unusual to go several days at a time without ever hitting a patch of cell service.
We use low-stress herding and stockmanship methods to herd cattle. Expect to spend some time pushing cattle to the next location, but a lot more time trying to slow them down, settle them, and get them to eat once we reach good grass. During these times there are often lulls and long silences; many past interns have found that the silences and boredom were the most difficult parts of the job.
You will be expected to help on occasion with work associated with the Inherding project, including but not limited to maintaining tack and equipment (you will be responsible for the care of your provided tack and gear), helping with horse care and training (based on your experience level—we won’t ask you to get on a horse that you aren’t comfortable on, and you riding a green horse is based on our discretion after assessing your riding abilities), moving temporary electric fence horse pens on the range, possible rangeland ecological monitoring, and moving camp or water tanks from one location to the next.
Please note that most of our range riding crews are run by Glenn and Caryl’s daughters. If you feel you are unable to take direction or feedback from women, please do not apply.
Ranch portion: During your time off between range stints, you’ll be on the home ranch for a 4–5-day period. You’ll have one full day off after returning from the range to rest, recover, and go to town. The rest of your time on the home ranch will be spent helping on operations there or on the range working on camp moves or other support for the range program.
The day-to-day work on the ranch is varied, but some of your tasks may include:
- Job shadowing on irrigation systems including pivots, wheel lines, pods, and/or flood irrigation
- Electric fence building and pasture rotation for the finishing beef cattle on the home ranch
- Hard fence construction (jack fence, barbed wire)
- Various construction and repair projects
- Manual weed management
- Observing (and, depending on your skill level, potentially helping with!) training young horses
- Sorting cattle, potential occasional doctoring, and occasional weighing of cattle
- Assisting at our shipping warehouse to help mail beef orders out to customers
- Helping with camp moves on the range
- Helping with weed management on the range
- Helping with water system moves on the range
- Potential ecological monitoring on the range
Please note that this isn’t a complete list. What we do on the home ranch is constantly changing on a day-to-day basis.
You will not be expected to be responsible for or bring past experience in any of these areas (there will be someone to supervise or work with you).
In the past we have hesitated to include some of the jobs above in our internship. Most people would call these tasks “manual labor.” We don’t see interns as an opportunity for free labor and have avoided asking past interns to do these jobs because of that; our primary goal is for you to learn during this internship. However, some of our previous interns felt they missed out on learning opportunities by only riding on the range and not helping out with everyday ranch tasks. Many of the jobs listed above are the nuts and bolts of ranching. We felt that including these tasks would provide interns with a more well-rounded ranch experience.
Whether you benefit from those tasks above is up to you. They can be seen as just manual labor unless you are willing to ask questions. For example, there is a lot of complexity to managing irrigation systems; ask as many questions as you possibly can. Electric fence building isn’t just about stringing hotwire. When building a pasture, we are also calculating acreage, available dry matter, thinking about how to graze that pasture to improve soils, and managing grazing for ideal weight gains. All of that is valuable information for those serious about ranching. If you choose to turn your brain off and unroll hotwire, that’s what you’ll get out of the job. If you ask questions and get involved in the process, you’ll learn about grazing, soil health, and pasture management. If you see helping at the shipping warehouse as just taping boxes, that’s what you’ll get out of it. If you see it as an opportunity to get an inside look at how we run a seven-figure direct-to-consumer shipping business, we’re happy to answer your questions!
If you read last year’s description, you may have noted that we had 2 weeks of training at the beginning of the summer. Since this internship is only 4 weeks, training will be more “on the job.” Soon after you arrive, you’ll head up to the range for your first riding and herding stint. Because you’ll be thrown into it without much preparation, we won’t expect you to know everything immediately! For the first few days you are welcome to simply “job shadow” various crew members to learn (literally just follow them around on your horse if you would like). We also all carry handheld radios, so you will be able to ask questions that way if needed. Similarly, with any ranch jobs you end up doing we do not expect immediate expertise and are happy to answer questions.
- You must be over 18 years of age
- You must be a US citizen
- You must be healthy and physically fit and able to endure long days of physical labor
- We require prior horsemanship experience due to the shortened internship period. You must come with the demonstrable ability to confidently catch, halter, saddle, and bridle a horse without assistance and then comfortably ride at a walk, trot, and lope on a loose rein. You must have independently ridden a minimum of 10 times in the past. Please do not overstate your skills in this area! Doing so may put your safety at risk. You’ll be riding independently off-trail in mountainous country almost as soon as you arrive. To start out, we’ll put you on reliable horses that know how to handle themselves in difficult terrain, but it’s important that you are honest about your experience level on the application!
Not required: experience with cattle, ranching, or any form of higher education, though these factors will be considered. Also not required is horse gear. Personal gear including cowboy boots, rain gear, a cowboy hat, range wearable clothing and a bedroll/sleeping bag is expected. If you have a saddle, you are welcome to bring it, but it will be subject to our approval prior to use (nothing personal—if a saddle doesn’t fit a horse well and is used for long hours at a time, it can permanently damage a horse’s back).
You will receive an extensive packing list if you are selected.
Rules & requirements during the internship:
- No drinking, drugs, or smoking on the ranch or in cow camp.
- Interns may not bring, carry, or use firearms. We have had multiple instances of irresponsible firearm handling that put people and animals in danger. As a result, regardless of your past experience or training, only our long-term employees and crew members are permitted to carry firearms on the ranch. Do not bring them with you to the ranch.
- You will be expected to maintain cleanliness in the community area shared with fellow crew members and employees.
- You must commit to the entire internship period. You’ll be given days off to rest and recover, of course, but because the internship will be shorter and more intensive this year, we can’t accommodate additional time off (family emergencies notwithstanding). If you know you will require time off during the internship period, do not apply.
- No guests at the ranch (it’s completely fine if friends or family drop you off for the internship or pick you up after, but you cannot invite guests to visit you or stay at the ranch while you are here).
- You may not bring your own horse or dog to the internship. No exceptions, sorry!
Click below for the 2023 application!
Thanks so much for applying!
Is this dangerous? There is always some danger where livestock, remote country, and wildlife are involved. However, we do our best to mitigate risks for our crew. In the past several years, we’ve had only a few low-risk injuries such as injured toes, bruising, cuts, and the occasional sprained ankle. We have an evacuation plan and emergency communication tools in place in case of severe injury.
How do I learn more about what the day-to-day looks like on the range? If you’re one of those people who has to have ALL the details, don’t worry! Check out our Instagram story highlights on our profile (we’re @alderspring_ranch). We have lots of stories from previous summers on the range saved there, so you can literally scroll through weeks of daily range updates. Knock yourself out!
Can I bring my dog/horse? Sorry, no!
Will I be expected to/can I carry a firearm? We’ve had some instances of irresponsible firearm handling in the past that have put people and livestock at risk. As a result, interns will categorically not be permitted to bring, carry, or handle a firearm regardless of your level of past training or experience in this area. We have never had an instance on the range where a firearm was necessary for our personal protection. However, for your safety in a wilderness environment, one or more of our regular employees or crew members will always be carrying a firearm.
Click to show Previous Job Announcements (NOW CLOSED).
Paid Position: Backcountry Packer, Cow Camp Tender, and Cook (APPLICATIONS CLOSED)
We’re looking for one person that can wear three hats: a backcountry horse packer, camp tender, and cook (only very simple meals required) for our summer range riding crew. The job includes dismantling our backcountry camp and packing it on horseback to new locations every one to three days, putting up temporary hotwire enclosures, taking care of a string of horses, and cooking very basic breakfasts and dinners for riding crew. You would have 1-2 hardworking but fairly unskilled interns/employees to help you. The job is rotational with 7-8 days on followed by 3-4 days off. The location is on our remote central Idaho rangeland, with the country varying from rolling sagebrush hills in the low country to steep timbered mountains in the higher reaches of the range.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: March 31st, 2021
WE ARE NOT CURRENTLY HIRING OR ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THIS POSITION.
Paid Position: Ranch Technician (applications closed)
We’re looking for a ranch technician to work on our 1650 acre valley ranch this summer. The job includes irrigation management and repair, fencing management and repair, chainsaw use, weed management, some cattle moving, and some basic repair work. Additionally, the technician would assist on our 46,000 acre rangeland in putting in tanks and setting up water systems for our riding crew and cattle. Training in all of these areas will be provided. There are no specific requirements for previous experience, but we’re looking for a capable individual who has a good head for mechanics and a problem-solving mindset
APPLICATION DEADLINE: March 31st, 2021
WE ARE NOT CURRENTLY HIRING OR ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THIS POSITION.