Job Type: Paid Internship
Salary Details: [$17/hour wage + trailer housing and utilities (~$850/month) Equals around ~ $21.5/hr]
Deadline: Sep 30, 2023

Sonoma Mountain Institute manages public and private land for individuals, governmental organizations, and nonprofits across Sonoma and Marin Counties. Our team of land managers, stewards, and scientists focuses on managed herbivory as our most effective tool to restore the health of the grasslands and savannas in our bioregion. We plan our grazing, monitor its effect both in real-time and through over 100 monitoring points across our ranches, and constantly adapt based on changing conditions. This scientifically rigorous, boots-on-the-ground approach to adaptive management is the bread and butter of our operation.

The Job

Our Grazing and Fencing Apprenticeship provides extensive experience and training in the day-to-day work of operating a ranch and building and maintaining the infrastructure it takes to do so. The apprenticeship also exposes you to managing the act of herbivory and managing ecology at a broad acre scale. For the first half of the apprenticeship,the bulk of the work will be focused on the necessary fence work in order to effectively manage biodiversity outcomes. If certain benchmarks of Competency are met by March 2024, the Apprentice has the opportunity to be given their own 50+ head herd and 100 acre ranch to manage. If the apprentice performs well with that level of responsibility, at the end of the season, the Apprentice will be given primary responsibility for 800 to 1,000 head for a duration of about 4 weeks. It should be noted that the timeline and possibility of these larger responsibilities will be dependent upon the adaptive nature of the season, primarily affected by the weather patterns of the 2023-2024 season. 

Over the course of a grazing season, the Apprentice will gain experience in low-stress stockmanship, grazing planning and management, infrastructure repair, maintenance, water system management, ranch construction, and applied ecological literacy. 

Compensation and Parameters of Job

Scope: One grazing season, November 2023 through July 2024. 40-50 hours a week. 

Wages: ~$21.5/hr [$17/hour wage + trailer housing and utilities (~$850/month)]

Responsibilities 75%

  • Repair, construct, and monitor both temporary and permanent infrastructure (specifically, permanent and temporary electric and barbed wire fencing) across our partner ranches in alignment with our ecological goals. While this work is not glamorous, it is the absolute foundation of being able to keep the cattle in the right location for the right amount of time for the right reasons, and it will provide a thorough and nuanced understanding of all types of fencing in all types of terrain and climates, which is essential for land managers to be effective at managing operations in the future. 
  • Attending to cattle water infrastructure and plumbing . 


  • Provide hands-on, day-to-day grazing support of cattle and work to ensure their health and well-being. This includes, but is not limited to, regular low-stress cattle moves, checking water points, and assessing and addressing any health problems that arise. If all goes well, the Apprentice will steward their own herd in Spring/Summer 2024.
  • Collaborate with the SMI team to collectively determine and execute ecological goals and strategies.
  • Engage with cattle suppliers, land owners, and the public effectively and respectfully, as a liaison for SMI and our work.


  • Desire to pursue a professional career in regenerative ranch management
  • Previous experience working with livestock OR experience working in an applicable trade OR other form of manual labor with transferable skills (e.g. construction, electrical carpentry, plumbing, welding, etc.)
  • Able to safely perform manual labor in varied climatic and environmental conditions and willing to work outdoors up to 10+ hours/day in uncomfortable conditions
  • Drivers license and ability to safely drive offroad vehicles in varied terrain
  • Effective communication and ability to collaborate with a wide range of people, teams, and partners


Please send a CV and cover letter to  to be considered for the position. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis through September 30th, 2023. Early application is encouraged.