Are you a beginning or aspiring farmer looking for a paid work opportunity that will offer real-world insights into the business and life of farming? If so, consider 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.
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 at Maple Edge Farm near Council Bluffs in western Iowa to greenhouse production at Salama Greenhouse at Boone in central Iowa, and everything in-between. A complete list of participating farm locations and enterprises is included below, and detailed job descriptions can be found at practicalfarmers.org/Labor4Learning.
This learning program offers a number of unique benefits
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. Trainees also:
• Are eligible for a day of paid time off to attend a PFI event during their term of employment
• Receive a discounted rate to attend the PFI Annual Conference in January 2016
• Receive preference for free home-stay lodging during the 2016 conference
• Have 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. Beginning farmer Jack Davis participated as a trainee in 2014, and says "It really worked out great; I was able to really dive into farm training, bee keeping and financial training. This program gave me the right questions I needed to ask when starting my own farm. Great program!"
How do applicants qualify to be selected for this program?
To become a trainee, applicants must apply to and be hired by a training farm. Applicants must have a strong desire to learn about the business of farming, and be a current member of Practical Farmers of Iowa (individual or whole-farm membership types both qualify). Those who want to apply but aren't currently PFI members can sign up online or by calling Erica Andorf at 515-232-5661. For questions about the Labor4Learning Program, contact Steve Carlson at [email protected] or 515-232-5661.
Here's a list of trainer farms and enterprises for 2015
• Jon Bakehouse– Maple Edge Farm at Hastings in Mills County: produces corn, soybeans, alfalfa, beef cattle, pasture, small grains
• Andy and Melissa Dunham – Grinnell Heritage Farm at Grinnell in Poweshiek County: produce certified organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed beef cattle, hay, poultry
• Rob Faux – Genuine Faux Farm at Tripoli in Bremer County: produces certified organic fruits and vegetables, poultry
• Rick and Stacy Hartmann – Small Potatoes Farm at Minburn in Dallas County: produces certified organic fruits and vegetables, poultry
• Ryan Herman – Herman's Heartland Farm at New Albin in Allamakee County has a beef cow/calf herd, beef yearling grazing, custom beef grazing, sheep
• Susan Jutz – ZJ Farms at Solon in Johnson County: produces fruits and vegetables, seed garlic, grass-fed sheep
• Denise O'Brien and Larry Harris – Rolling Acres Farm at Atlantic in Cass County: produces vegetables, fruits, cover crops, poultry
• Jeff and Gayle Olson – J&G Olson Farms at Winfield in Henry County: produces corn, soybeans, beef cattle, specialty crops
• James Nisly – Organic Greens, LLC at Kalona in Washington County: produces mini greens, micro greens, asparagus, cabbage and sweet potatoes
• Mike Salama – Salama Greenhouse at Boone in Boone County has greenhouse production of ornamentals and vegetables
• Ben Saunders – Wabi Sabi Farm in Des Moines in Polk County produces certified organic fruits and vegetables
• Erik Sessions – Patchwork Green Farm at Decorah in Winneshiek County: produces organically grown fruits, vegetables, herbs and cut flowers
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 www.practicalfarmers.org.