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New farmers may get paid farming experience

By Staff | Mar 7, 2015

AMES (PFI) – Beginning or aspiring farmers can get a paid work opportunity that will offer real world insights into the business and life of farming by applying to Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Labor4Learning Program.

The program, now entering its third year, seeks to give beginners who are considering a farming career paid on the job experience while helping established farmers attract high quality, motivated farm employees.

In addition to securing paid employment on a PFI member farm, selected trainees develop a set of learning outcomes with their trainers to focus on throughout the term of employment. Learning outcomes can include farm management such as business planning and financing, as well as production practices and hands on skills. Other benefits include:

  • Eligibility for a day of paid time off to attend a PFI event.
  • Discounted rate to attend the PFI Annual Conference in January 2016.
  • Preference for free home stay lodging during the 2016 conference.
  • Opportunities to connect with other PFI trainees.

Experienced farmers benefit from having an employee who is highly motivated to work and eager to learn about the business of running a farm.

This year, 12 PFI member farms across Iowa are seeking to hire a trainee for the 2015 growing season.

Job opportunities range from planting and harvesting row crops to greenhouse production.

A complete list of 12 PFI participating training farms in the Labor4Learning Program include:

  • Mills County Maple Edge Farm, Hastings, Jon Bakehouse. Corn, soy, alfalfa, beef cattle, pasture, small grains.
  • Powesheik County: Grinnell Heritage Farm, Grinnell, Andy and Melissa Dunham. Certified organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed beef cattle, hay, poultry.
  • Bremer Count: Genuine Faux Farm, Tripoli, Rob Faux. Certified organic fruits and vegetables, poultry.
  • Dallas County: Small Potatoes Farm, Minburn, Rick and Stacy Hartmann. Certified organic fruits and vegetables, poultry.
  • Allamakee County: Herman’s Heartland Farm, New Albin, Ryan Herman. Beef cow,calf, beef yearling grazing, custom beef grazing, sheep.
  • Johnson County: ZJ Farm, Solon, Susan Jutz. Fruits and vegetables, seed garlic, grass-fed sheep.
  • Cass County: Rolling Acres Farm, Atlantic, Denise O’Brien and Larry Harris. Produce, cover crops, poultry.
  • Henry County: J&G Olson Farms, Winfield, Jeff and Gayle Olson. Corn, soybean, beef cattle, specialty crops.
  • Washington County: Organic Greens, LLC, Kalona, James Nisly. Mini greens, micro greens, asparagus, cabbage and sweet potatoes .
  • Boone County: Salama Greenhouse, Boone, Mike Salama. Greenhouse production, ornamentals, vegetables.
  • Polk County: Wabi Sabi Farm, Des Moines, Ben Saunders. Certified organic fruits and vegetables.
  • Winnesheik County: Patchwork Green Farm, Decorah, Erik Sessions. Organically grown fruits, vegetables, herbs and cut flowers.

Trainees must meet the following qualifications:

  • Applicants must apply to and be hired by a training farm.
  • Have a strong desire to learn about the business of farming.
  • Be a current member of PFI (individual or whole-farm membership types both qualify).

Those who want to apply but aren’t currently PFI members can sign up at www.practicalfarmers.org/join-pfi.html or by calling Erica Andorf at (515) 232-5661.

For questions about the Labor4Learning Program, contact Steve Carlson at steve@practicalfarmers.org or (515) 232-5661.

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