Heart of the Shepherd’s internship program has been in place since 2009. More than 70 interns have participated in the program. The internship program at the farm equips students with basic farming skills and arms them with Biblical references to farming and shepherding.
The objective of the internship program is to teach an awareness of basic agriculture, develop basic agricultural skills, expose students to the many agricultural parables found in the Bible, and to teach an appreciation for historical agriculture, laced with a healthy appreciation for industrialized agriculture.
Students will learn in the same manner as an apprentice learns. Watch the shepherd, practice with the shepherd, and then do the activity unassisted.
The farm is primarily a sheep farm, with several hundred sheep; however, there are many other activities on the farm and through the ministry, Heart of the Shepherd. There is a cattle herd, horses, donkeys, chickens, at least one goat, llama, alpaca, sheep dogs, barn cats, a Farm Museum, a Farm Store, hay harvest, pecan harvest, walnut harvest, walnut hulling, a wool mill, shearing school, fiber arts retreats and classes, a Bible Garden which produces vegetables and fruit for farm use and for sale, and a Mission Shop. There is an on-site veterinarian and a veterinary care unit for the animals on the farm. Opportunities abound for learning.
Dr. Diane Dickinson, the director for the Internship Program, is an agriculturalist with a Bachelor’s in Agriculture, a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine, and over five decades of farm and livestock experience. Following her footsteps each day is sure to include a bountiful harvest of learning.
Internships may be geared toward one of the following six areas:
1. Sheep and Shepherding Internship: this internship has a primary interest focused on shepherding. The busiest season is the spring season, with many opportunities for learning. Learn what Psalm 23 really means while being the shepherd to the pasture raised flock on the farm. Learn how to give shepherding tours, and work in the Farm Animal Barn.
2. Bible Gardening Internship: Learn about natural gardening for sustainability, train to be a Bible Garden Tour guide, assist with garden-related educational activities in the Farm Museum.
3. Wool Mill Internship: Learn how to process wool “green” – including washing, carding, spinning, weaving and more. Learn how to give Wool Mill tours and assist with wool-related displays in the Farm Museum.
4. Farm Museum Internship: The Farm Museum & Educational Silo is an agriculturally-based museum with hands-on learning activities. The museum is indoors and outdoors. Learn how to manage a museum, assist with upgrading the farm museum, be a farm museum tour guide, and learn how the Bible and agriculture are related.
5. Heart of the Shepherd Missions and Missions Shop Internship: Emphasis is on the International Mission Shop operations and fundraising. Learn how to tell the story of the nations and their needs, and how to maintain a brick and mortar gift shop.
6. General Farm & Shepherding Internship: This internship experience includes all of the previous categories, working in the fields, working with the sheep and other farm animals, assisting with the Pumpkin Festival, providing Christian, agricultural-based educational tours, as well as a vast array of support farm tasks such as field and tree maintenance, harvesting, planting, cleaning, and fence maintenance and assisting in the Farm Animal Barn.
Interns will experience some of every segment of farm life, and are not restricted entirely to their internship emphasis. Therefore, each intern will be learning from all six categories. However, their primary focus will be in their interest area. “Every day is a new day on the farm,” so be ready to be flexible. Nature is unpredictable.
Steps of the application process:
1. Submit a Resume
2. Receive an internship application and return the completed form to the Shepherd’s Cross office.
3. Reference checks
4. Personal interview
5. Background Check
Internships are for one semester. Generally, the times are as follows:
Spring Semester January – May
Summer Semester May – Mid-Aug or Early Sept.
Fall Semester Early September – December
Activities of farm life change with the seasons. The spring semester is the busiest sheep season to intern, as this is lambing season and sheep shearing on the farm. This is also haying season. The summer semester is the busiest Bible Garden season to intern, as this is harvest season. The fall semester is a busy evangelism outreach with the Pumpkin Festival and Living Nativity. This is also pecan and walnut harvest season and haying season.
Following successful completion of the internship, the student may apply for the Residency Program. The Residency Program allows the student to remain at the farm for one complete calendar year, experiencing all of the activities of a farm year. This is beneficial in terms of understanding seed time and harvest, and the Biblical implications.
Experience is advantageous, but not required.
Internships are full or part time. Compensation for internships may include room, board, and a monthly monetary stipend. The stipend is not a salary, and it is performance based.
College credit can be given for our internship program. Shepherd’s Cross has worked with many colleges within and outside of the state.
Interns have come from New Hampshire, California, Colorado, Kansas, South Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Texas, New York, Kyrgyzstan, and Oklahoma.
Several graduate interns have been hired to be a part of the Shepherd’s Cross and Heart of the Shepherd team.
For more information about the farm, drop by and talk to Dr. D or visit the website at www.ShepherdsCross.com.