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Compost Operator (Black Dirt Farm)

Organization Black Dirt Farm
Location 393 Stannard Mountain Rd
Greensboro Bend, Vermont 05842

Farm Description

Black Dirt Farm is a diversified family farm in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. We operate a year-route food scrap collection route to collect organic waste from our community. We strive to put this “waste” to as much positive use as we can. First, we blend the food scraps into a compost mix which provides forage or feeding hens. We then make compost and worm castings with the excess food and manure. Finally, we use the resulting products to nourish our soils and crops.  Our farm is firmly based in regenerative agricultural practices and the creation of sustainable food systems. Since 2014, we’ve diverted 13.6 million pounds of food scraps from the landfill, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of not burning 603,598 gallons of gasoline and capturing enough nitrogen to fertilize over 1,000 acres of mixed vegetable crops.

Being a part of Black Dirt Farm means working in an environment that is both caring and efficient. The farm requires creative and driven individuals who can work as part of a dynamic and often fast paced team but also be responsible for managing their own tasks independently with professionalism and attention to detail. 

At Black Dirt Farm we believe thriving as a farm means cultivating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace where individuals can flourish and grow regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education, or physical or intellectual ability. We are committed to equal opportunity for employment and advancement. We respect and value diverse life experiences and heritages and work to ensure that all voices are valued and heard. We do not tolerate marginalizing behavior of any sort.  Being a part of our farm community requires sharing this belief.

Position Overview

The Compost Operator plays a central, multifaceted role in the farm’s composting operation. The Compost Operator has two main responsibilities: 1.) operating our compost collection operation two days a week, and 2.) producing compost on the farm. The Operator’s time will be roughly 50-60% collection operations, and 40-50% compost and production.

Food Scrap Collection Operations—Our food scrap collection route currently serves 85+ business, schools, and institutions in the Lamoille Valley and Northeast Kingdom. The route is serviced with a F550 dump truck pulling a 10-yard dump trailer. Food scraps are collected in 48-gallon, wheeled containers, and tipped into the trailer with a hydraulic lifter. Each container must be screened for trash contamination and any contaminants found are removed by the Operator.  After each container is tipped the Operator washes the inside and outside of the container with a hot water pressure washer. We collect 52 weeks a year. This is a physically demanding role and requires excellent driving abilities and experience driving a trailer.

Compost Production—Once food scraps are tipped at Black Dirt Farm, they are blended into a compost mix with other materials to create a forage mix for our laying hens. Each week material is removed from the compost bin and built into free-standing windrows on our compost past.  These piles are actively managed with a tractor bucket in order to satisfy required parameters for Organic Certification. The Operator monitors piles for temperature and moisture. We seek a Compost Operator who will take pride in their work.

Job Tasks/ Sphere of Responsibility

As Compost Collection Operator, role and responsibilities include:

  • Operating the collection route 2 days per week. This involves:
  1.  driving F550 with 10-yard dump trailer (40’ total length),
  2.  handling 48-gallon wheeled containers (typically 220lb, up to 300lbs),
  3.  operating a hydraulic tipper, generator, hot water pressure washer, and 12-volt fresh water pump.
  • Daily tracking and reporting of data, including data entry.
  • Visually inspecting containers for contaminants and removing them.
  • Customer service as needed while on customer premises.
  • Collection of sawdust as needed and delivery of sawdust to customers.
  • Occasional farm tractor operation as needed. (Kubota M4700)
  • Weekly & monthly meetings.

As Compost Production Operator, role and responsibilities include:

  1. Monitor conditions of compost.
  2. Data collection and entry.
  3. Turn compost piles with the farm tractor. (Kubota M4700)
  4. Move material with the farm dump truck (Ford F-350 dump body)
  5. Maintain compost pad with grading and other maintenance as required.
  6. Product sampling and testing.
  7. Screen mature compost with Sittler gas-powered screen.
  8. Ensure Black Dirt Farm adherence to Organic standards.
  9. Load customers and handle on-farm sales.

The Compost Operator may also be asked to contribute to special project and general farm tasks that are not outlined in this description.


  • 5 years driving experience and ideally, one year of commercial or heavy truck driving experience
  • Excellent work ethic and appreciation for efficiency.
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills.
  • Superior personal skills, including communication, stress management, and teamwork.
  • Willingness to follow and develop protocol. Curiosity about, and ambition for, operational excellence.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage tasks, including planning, problem solving, and repair.
  • Demonstrated ability to be conceptualize long term goals and have the forethought to adjust day to day activities to those goals.
  • This job requires the operator to:
  1.          o   Handle containers up to 350 pounds (on wheels).
             o   Lift 100 pounds safely.
             o   Climb in and out of truck bed routinely with comfort.
             o   Shovel heavy material for extended periods of time.
             o   Execute semi-repetitive tasks over time
             o   Operate outdoors, in variable weather and temperatures
             o   Bend, stoop, and climb stairs
  • Excitement about compost, farming and the food system.
  • All candidates must pass a DMV and criminal background check.

Hours per week: 32-36 hours per week

Date Posted September 25th, 2020
Deadline Open until filled
# of Positions Available 1
Categories Agriculture and culinary tourism, Farm Inputs, Nutrient Management
Type Full Time
Compensation Hourly rate will be based on experience.
How to Apply Please send a cover letter, resume, and a list of three references to Looking to hire ASAP. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

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