Does your farm seek a highly motivated farm employee? Are you looking for a way to support the next generation of Iowa farmers by sharing your farming knowledge with an aspiring farmer? If so, consider becoming a trainer in Practical Farmers of Iowa's Labor4Learning Program.
The program, now entering its third year, is an effort to help beginning farmers receive paid, on-the-job training while helping experienced farmers attract high-quality, motivated farm employees. Applications will be accepted through December 31. Trainer farms will be selected by a committee of PFI members. An application is available at the PFI website, or request one by calling (515) 232-5661.
Farms of all sizes, enterprises, production practices and regions in Iowa are encouraged to apply. To be eligible to serve as a trainer, farmers must live or farm in Iowa and be Practical Farmers of Iowa members. To become a member visit the PFI website or call the PFI office at (515) 232-5661.
Past participants say this experience benefits trainer and trainee
Erik Sessions, of Patchwork Green Farm in Winneshiek County, served as a trainer and says he found the experience was beneficial to his farm as well as his trainee: "It's a great program, and I would like to continue making use of the Practical Farmers perks with future employees."
Rick and Stacy Hartmann, who operate Small Potatoes Farm near Minburn, expressed gratitude for the Labor4Learning Program and its contribution to the future of Iowa agriculture. "This program is very valuable," Rick says. "It is resources so much better spent than other local foods dollars being funded out there."
Program has several attributes, including farm business insight
Approved trainer farms will receive a payment of up to $200 per month, not to exceed $1,000 per year. This money pays farmers to spend additional time educating trainees on farm business development – training that gives trainees knowledge and business insights beyond the experience they gain performing tasks as a farm laborer. Training time may be flexible, on-the-job or of an informal nature, and should take about one to two hours per week. Trainers will also receive support learning about farm labor regulations.
Trainees will receive other benefits, including: one paid day off to attend Practical Farmers of Iowa events, such as field days; a special student rate discount to Practical Farmers' annual conference; and special consideration for free lodging at a PFI member's home during the 2015 annual conference.
PFI makes the connections; hiring decisions are made by trainers
Practical Farmers of Iowa will help advertise and connect trainees to employment opportunities at trainer farms; hiring decisions are made by the farm trainers.
Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers that seeks to strengthen farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Farmers in our network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For additional information, call (515) 232-5661 or visit the PFI website.