Labor4Learning

The Labor4Learning program helps beginning farmers get paid on-the-job training with experienced farmers, and pays experienced farmers for their time and effort.

Beginning farmers

Are you looking to get paid, on-the-job Training with experienced farmers in Iowa?  The Labor4Learning program is designed for beginning farmers seeking employment and additional training in farm management and production skills. Practical Farmers of Iowa “trainer” farmers will be hiring in the early part of the new year for the upcoming growing season. Browse the list below for training opportunities near you.

Get paid at least minimum wage and earn other benefits, including:

  • Learn farm business development from an experienced PFI farmer
  • Paid time off to attend a PFI event during the term of employment
  • Discount to the Practical Farmers of Iowa 2017 Annual Conference ($100 value)
  • Connect with other “PFI Trainees”

Qualifications:

  • Apply and be hired by a PFI Trainer farmer.
  • Have a strong motivation to learn the business of farming.
  • Be a current individual or whole farm member of Practical Farmers of Iowa,

To apply, send current resume and three work-related references directly to the trainer. Direct any questions about job details to the trainer as well.

See a Labor4Learning profile from Donna Warhover’s Morning Glory Farm in 2017.

Curious about your rights as a farm worker? Be sure to check out our Farm Employment FAQ for answers to your questions.

Experienced farmers

Are you looking for a high quality, motivated farm employee? Want to get paid up to $200 per month (maximum $1,000 per year) by Practical Farmers to share the business details a beginning farmer needs to know to be successful managing his/her own farm? Apply to be a Practical Farmers of Iowa Trainer.

Applications to become a Trainer are accepted through December 31st  for the following season. All complete applications submitted will be reviewed by a committee made of diverse Practical Farmers member farmers, and selections will be made in January.  Applicants must be PFI members who farm in Iowa to be eligible.

To request an application or for more information, please contact Steve Carlson at steve@practicalfarmers.org or by calling (515) 232-5661.

Hesitant to hire a farm employee due to questions about legal requirements? Check out our Farm Employment FAQ about the rights and responsibilities for Iowa farm workers and farm employers.

2018 Labor4Learning Trainers

Trainee Position Status Trainer and Farm Town Enterprises County Details
Filled Alert, Doug and Margaret Smith Hampton Organic row crops, small grains, hay, pasture, beef cow/calf, ewe flock, lambs, poultry Franklin

Alert, Doug and Margaret Smith

Farm Location: Hampton, IA (90 miles N of Des Moines)

Experience: 36 and 25 years, respectively

About the Farm: Our farm enterprises are corn, soybeans, small grains, hay, beef cattle, and sheep. We are certified organic, use long-term rotations, cover crops, managed grazing, ridge tillage, and no-till.

Job Title: Farm Assistant/Intern

Terms, Hours, Status: Full-time hourly employee, 40+ hours per week. Annual compensation range of $35,000 to $38,000depending on experience and hours worked.

Other Benefits: A stipend will be provided for health insurance. In addition to the hourly wage, compensation will include a percentage of the calf crop each year. Other benefits include meat, eggs, and space for a garden for the employee and their immediate family.

On-farm Housing: Housing may be available for the right candidate.

Work Activities: Work activities focus on the cropping system, and the cattle herd is a secondary enterprise. Activities include field work (tillage, planting, weed control, harvesting); machinery maintenance; new building and building repairs; assistance with field map generation; cattle handling and pasture management.

Minimum Qualifications: Valid drivers’ license, willingness to work outside in almost all weather, able to lift seed and feed bags (50#).  Preference given for commitment of a minimum two years.

Skills Desired: Enthusiasm for agriculture, sustainability, and business. Experience with machinery; prefer experience with livestock; ability to work more than 40 hours per week, as needed.

Start Date (approx): Immediately

End Date (approx): TBD

Contact: Doug Alert ashgrove@wmtel.net and Margaret Smith mrgsmith@iastate.edu  

Available Bakehouse, Jon-Maple Edge Farm, Inc. Hastings Corn, soy, alfalfa, beef cattle, pasture, some small grains Mills

Bakehouse, Jon

Farm and Location: Maple Edge Farm, Inc., Hastings, IA (35 miles SE of Council Bluffs)

Experience: 18 years

About the Farm: We produce corn, soy, alfalfa, beef cattle, pasture, and some small grains. We utilize no-till, cover crops, extended cash crop rotations including annual pasture, and managed grazing. Corn and soybeans sold to elevators in Council Bluffs, beef sold to local auction and direct-market.

Job Title: Farmhand

Terms, Hours, Status: This is a very part-time, flexible position for the right candidate to work and learn on-farm for 1 or 2 days per week.

Other Benefits: N/A

On-farm Housing: N/A

Work Activities: This is a learning opportunity for someone to come and job shadow the typical farm activities, which include: lots of maintenance on grounds, fences and machinery; help with planting and harvest; monitor cow herd plus daily livestock chores; drive for parts/machinery/livestock; talk about marketing plans for beef; review possible new enterprises.

Minimum Qualifications: Physically fit and willing to work in heat and cold; driver's license; self-directed and disciplined to finish variety of jobs without constant supervision. Self-directed and disciplined to take charge of own learning experience.

Skills Desired: Outstanding work ethic; punctual and reliable; values sense of community and working together; attention to detail; traditionally grounded but always open to improvement; accepts feedback while providing insights.

Start Date (approx): flexible

End Date (approx): flexible

Contact: Jon Bakehouse at (712) 370-3629, or email mapleedgefarm@gmail.com

Available Beard, Dan and Bonnie-Canoe Creek Dairy Decorah Organic dairy, pasture, hay, small grains, corn and sweet corn, syrup, timber Winneshiek

Beard, Dan and Bonnie

Farm and Location: Canoe Creek Dairy, Decorah, IA (78 miles NE of Waterloo)

Experience: 40 years

About the Farm: We are a certified organic farm with a dairy, beef cattle, pasture, hay, small grains, corn, sweet corn, maple syrup and timber. Managed intensive grazing is the cornerstone of our system. Our milk is sold to Organic Valley, and our beef is sold through Organic Prairie and the Oneota Food Coop in Decorah. Our organic grain is sold locally, and the forage we produce is for our livestock.

Job Title: Seasonal Intern

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours are part-time, variable. Pay rate is at $10.00 per hour.

Other Benefits: Mid day meal with the family

On-farm Housing: N/A

Work Activities: Activities include milking, calf feeding, moving cows to paddocks, moving fence, building fence, haying and many other related activities.

Minimum Qualifications: Must have a willingness to learn attitude, and no fears of getting dirty.

Skills Desired: We would consider any experience level

Start Date (approx): May, but flexible

End Date (approx): August, but flexible

Contact: Dan Beard mcbeard@acrec.com

Filled Breckbill, Hannah - Humble Hands Harvest Decorah Produce, poultry, alpacas, honey bees, fruit trees, value added products, hay Winneshiek

Breckbill, Hannah

Farm and Location: Humble Hands Harvest, Decorah, IA (78 miles NE of Waterloo)

Experience: 5 years

About the farm: We raise certified organic vegetables, rotationally graze sheep, and are adding perennial crops and pastured pork. Our produce is sold through a CSA in Rochester, MN and Decorah, IA, at farmers markets in Decorah and Cedar Rapids, and through aggregators and distributors in northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota.

Job Title: Vegetable Field Worker

Terms, Hours, Status: Part-time, with an hourly wage of $10.

Other benefits:  CSA Share plus fresh produce & eggs on an "as available" basis.

On-farm Housing: N/A

Work Activities: May is the month of planting, June of weeding, and July of harvesting! Our employee will almost exclusively be working in the field, sometimes solo and sometimes alongside the other farmers. Observations of conditions in the field, as well as communication with and problem solving alongside the other farmers, are key parts of the work.

Minimum Qualifications: Able to work physically outside, lift 50 lbs, and make observations and communicate them.

Skills Desired: I am prepared to teach all skills that are necessary. Critical thinking skills are all that's needed!

Start Date (approx): May

End Date (approx): October

Contact: Hannah Breckbill, breckbih@gmail.com

Website: humblehandsharvest.com

Facebook: facebook.com/HumbleHandsHarvest

Available Dunham, Andrew and Melissa-Grinnell Heritage Farm Grinnell Certified organic produce, chestnuts, cattle, hay, poultry Poweshiek

Dunham, Andrew and Melissa- Grinnell Heritage Farm

Farm and Location: Grinnell Heritage Farm, Grinnell, IA (54 miles east of Des Moines)

Experience: 12 years

About the Farm: We are a diversified farm with a primary enterprise of vegetables, but also grow select fruits, chestnuts, beef cattle, hay and poultry. We are certified organic, grass-finish the cattle, and use cover crops and extended rotations. We operate a 250 member CSA serving Grinnell, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines. We also sell to select grocery stores, co-ops, restaurants and attend farmers markets in Iowa City. In addition, we do on-farm pizza nights twice a month.

Job Title: Farm Crew Member

Terms, Hours, Status: Full-time 40 hours per week. Pay rate $9.00 per hour, or commensurate with experience

Other Benefits: CSA share

On-farm Housing: N/A

Work Activities: Any and all activities on a busy produce farm, including but not limited to: planting, transplanting, harvest, post-harvest handling, washing, packing, lifting, moving, delivering, and storing plants and produce.

Minimum Qualifications: Able to work well with others, able to listen to and follow instructions, able to work outside in all weather, stand for long periods of time, lift at least 50 lbs, possess a valid drivers’ license, non-smoker.

Skills Desired: This position fills one of our crew member posts and needs to be treated like a job. Many of our crew members have been with us for many years and have a lot of knowledge to share. No produce experience is necessary, but an open mind to learning about produce is a must.

Start Date (approx): May

End Date (approx): October

Contact: Andrew, farmers@grinnellheritagefarm.com

Website: grinnellheritagefarm.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoTeamCarrot/

Available Gilbert, John C. and Sarah -Gibralter Iowa Falls Dairy, farrow-to-finish hogs, corn, beans, small grains, hay Hardin

Gilbert, John C. and Sarah-Gibralter Farms

Farm and Location: Iowa Falls, IA (80 miles north of Des Moines)

Experience: 8 years

About the Farm: We have a 60 cow dairy, farrow-to-finish hogs, and grow corn, soybeans small grains, hay and silage crops. We use managed grazing, extended rotations, cover crops, minimum/strip/no-till, non-gmo crops and feeds. Our milk is sold to Prairie Farms and the pigs are sold through Niman Ranch and the local locker. Corn and soybeans that aren’t used for feed are sold through conventional and non-gmo markets.

Job Title:  Farm Intern

Terms, Hours, Status: Part to Full-time, 10-40 hours per week. Pay is starting at $9.00 per hour, commensurate with experience.

Other Benefits: N/A

On-farm Housing: No, but we can help find nearby housing

Work Activities: Applicant will assist with all aspects of the farm including dairy, hogs and crops. This will include assisting with milking dairy cows, mixing and delivery of feed, setting up pasture fencing, assisting with forage harvest, and construction and repair projects.

Minimum Qualifications: Willingness to work outside and with animals. Ability to lift at least 50 pounds. Possess a valid drivers’ license.

Skills Desired: No prior experience necessary.

Start Date (approx): Between March and May

End Date (approx): Minimum through August with potential for long-term.

Contact: John C. Gilbert, isucountry@gmail.com, (515) 450-3518

Facebook: facebook.com/gibralterfarms  

Filled Henry, Dean - Berry Patch Nevada Apples, berries, cherries, produce Story

Henry, Dean and Judy

Farm and Location: Berry Patch Farm, Nevada, IA (30 miles north of Des Moines)

Experience: 52 years

About the Farm: We produce a variety of berries, cherries, apples and produce. Some fruits are You-Pick, and we also market through CSA shares, farmers markets, on-farm sales and we have a certified kitchen.

Job Title:  Farm Labor

Terms, Hours, Status: Variable hours starting at $10.00 per hour, commensurate with experience.

Other Benefits: Fresh produce

On-farm Housing: N/A

Work Activities: Job responsibilities include planting, harvesting, managing orders, part-time pickers, you-pick customers, on-farm sales, and doing tractor work and mowing.

Minimum Qualifications: We can adapt to the employee’s ability.

Skills Desired: Good with other workers and customers, smiles a lot.

Start Date (approx): March

End Date (approx): October

Contact: Dean Henry, dean@berrypatchfarm.com

Website: http://www.berrypatchfarm.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/berrypatchfarmiowa/

Available Nisly, James – Organic Greens Kalona Certified organic produce, including mini greens, micro greens, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potatoes Washington

Nisly, James

Farm and Location: Organic Greens LLC, Kalona, IA (19 miles SW of Iowa City)

Experience: 20 years

About the Farm: We grow mini greens, micro greens, wheat grass and vegetables. We’re certified organic and utilize cover crops and crop rotations. We market our products to grocery stores, institutions, restaurants and food service, as well as direct to consumers.

Job Title: Farm Labor

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours are full-time at 40 per week but may be variable. Pay rate is commensurate with experience. Starting wage is $10.00 per hour.

Other Benefits:  Excess produce

On-farm Housing: No, but willing to help look

Work Activities: Large variety of activities including planting, care, harvest, wash and package of mini greens and micro greens and market garden crops.  Planting and incorporating cover crops, and also delivering products to customers.

Minimum Qualifications: Able to work outside in all weather, stand for long periods of time, lift 70 lbs., possess a valid driver's license with clean driving record, able to work weekends.

Skills Desired: Basic horticulture experience, self motivation and a strong desire to learn.

Start Date (approx): May

End Date (approx): December

Contact: James Nisly organicgreens@kctc.net

Website:  OGitsfresh.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Organic-Greens-LLC-172072409496807/

Available O'Brien, Denise and Larry Harris-Rolling Acres Farm Atlantic Certified organic produce, cover crops, poultry Cass

O’Brien, Denise and Larry Harris

Farm and Location: Rolling Acres Farm, Atlantic IA (80 miles W of Des Moines)

Experience: 40 years

About the Farm: We are a certified organic farm with a 30+ member CSA raising fruit, vegetables, chicken and turkey. We have a moveable high tunnel, a low tunnel, and a greenhouse. Aside from the CSA, we market to a local grocery store and farmer’s market.

Job Title: Farm Labor

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours are part-time and variable. This is a limited opportunity for the right candidate who has a genuine interest in learning about our farm. Pay rate is commensurate with experience, approximately $8.00 per hour.

Other Benefits:  N/A

On-farm Housing: Yes, we can provide room and board.

Work Activities: General farm labor - soil prep, planting cultivating, harvesting, post harvest cleaning and packing. Delivery to CSAs.

Minimum Qualifications: Must not mind being dirty, working in all types of weather, lifting 50 pounds, laughing and engaging in fun. Must be able to use and take care of hand tools.

Skills Desired: Rototiller experience would be nice. Enthusiasm and willingness to work hard.

Start Date (approx): May

End Date (approx): October

Contact: Denise O’Brien rollingacres76@gmail.com

Website:  http://rollingacres76.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rollingacresatlanticiowa/?ref=hl

Available Raasch, Dale and Marcie - Bridgewater Farm Bridgewater Certified organic vegetables and fruits; hay, cattle, hogs, briolers, laying hens Adair

Raasch, Dale and Marcie

Farm and Location: Bridgewater Farm, Bridgewater IA (73 miles SW of Des Moines)

Experience: 40 years

About the Farm: We raise certified organic fruits and vegetables, hay, cattle, hogs, broilers, and laying hens. We use strip till, extended crop rotations, cover crops, no antibiotics and non-GMO. We sell produce and meat through retail stores, farmers markets, a CSA, individual sales and restaurants.

Job Title: Team Member

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours are full-time but variable. Pay rate is commensurate with experience, approximately $8 - $10 per hour.

Other Benefits:  Excess produce

On-farm Housing: Arrangements can be made if necessary

Work Activities: Activities include planting, weeding, harvesting, and packaging. If interested, observing sales calls/bookkeeping/marketing as well. Possible farmers market sales and CSA or store deliveries.

Minimum Qualifications: Able to work outside in all weather, stand/bend for long periods of time, lift at least 50#, valid driver’s license, (good driving record if making deliveries).

Skills Desired: Self-motivated to learn and willing to work at a variety of tasks associated with a horticultural farm.

Start Date (approx): March

End Date (approx): November

Contact: Dale Raasch at 641-745-5368

Website:  bfproduce.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BridgewaterFamilyFarm/

Available Salama, Mike-Salama Greenhouse Boone Greenhouse production: ornamentals,vegetables Boone

Salama, Mike

Farm and Location: Salama Greenhouse and Floral, Boone IA (15 miles west of Ames)

Experience: 5 years

About the Farm: We grow ornamentals, bedding plants, cut flowers, potted annuals, perennials, hydroponic tomatoes, basil and winter greens. Everything is under cover, greenhouse grown, with a hydroponic system in place for vegetables. Flowers and plants are sold in-house retail, and vegetables are sold to grocery stores, restaurants, and institutions wholesale.

Job Title: Assistant Grower

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours are part-time at 20 per week. Pay rate is commensurate with experience, approximately $10.00 per hour.

Other Benefits:  N/A

On-farm Housing: N/A

Work Activities: Spring planting, working with tomato and basil crops.

Minimum Qualifications: Must be able to stand for long periods of time, lift at least 50 lbs, and have a valid driver’s license.

Skills Desired: Horticulture, greenhouse experience, flower shop, retail, veggie production preferred.

Start Date (approx): March 1

End Date (approx): September 30

Contact: Mike Salama salama.mike@gmail.com

Website:  www.salamagreenhouse.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/salamagreenhouseandfloral/

Available Shriver, Scott – Shriver Farms, LLC Jefferson Certified organic row crops, small grains, alfalfa. Greene

Shriver, Scott

Farm and Location: Shriver Farms, LLC, Jefferson IA (40 miles west of Ames)

Experience: 23 years

About the Farm: We have 2,000 acres of certified organic crop production, raising corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, barley, buckwheat, field peas and alfalfa. We have large, modern equipment and use cutting edge organic farming practices.

Job Title: Farm Worker

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours are full-time and pay rate is $13/hour or commensurate with experience.  We can work with a “school” schedule as needed.

Other Benefits:  N/A

On-farm Housing: yes

Work Activities: Equipment maintenance and make ready for field operations.  Tending to planter and sprayer, cultivating, scouting fields, and haying operations.  Assisting with the harvest of crops, and many other operations as needed for any farm operation such as ours.

Minimum Qualifications: Must be able and willing to work long hours (at times), lift at least 75 pounds, possess a valid driver’s license (CDL a plus).

Skills Desired: The most important skill to possess will be an eagerness to learn and participate in an organic farming operation.  Past farming experience including operating large farm equipment a plus.

Start Date (approx): May 1

End Date (approx): November 1

Contact: Scott Shriver, shriverfarms@gmail.com

Filled Warhover, Donna -Morning Glory LLC Mount Vernon Produce, eggs Linn

Warhover, Donna

Farm and Location: Morning Glory LLC, Mount Vernon, IA (20 miles north of Iowa City)

Experience: 6 years

About the Farm: We raise vegetables and herbs for our CSA, four farmers markets, restaurants, chefs and college food service, and we raise eggs for our CSA shareholders. Though not certified, we practice organic production, and we also use cover crops in our crop rotation. We also host community and learning events throughout the year.

Job Title: Farm Crew

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours are full-time but variable. Pay rate is commensurate with experience, approximately $9-10 per hour.

Other Benefits: Workers Comp insurance, fruit & vegetables available, connection to larger farm/mentor/local food movement community

On-farm Housing: N/A may be able to help find housing

Work Activities: Activities include seed starting (soil blocks, germination chamber), greenhouse and high tunnel management, planting, organic soil management, pest and weed management, harvesting, processing, and marketing crops. Also prepare site for hosting students, visitors, and other community events, working with volunteers and staffing farmers market table and distribution of CSA shares.

Minimum Qualifications: Be able to work outside in all weather, stand for long periods of time, lift at least 50 pounds, possess a valid drivers’ license, strong work ethic, ability to work in a fast-paced environment, commitment to local foods movement, adherence to Morning Glory’s vision.

Skills Desired:

Start Date (approx): April

End Date (approx): October

Contact: Donna Warhover, donnawarhover@gmail.com

Website: https://www.morningglory.community/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MorningGloryACommunityHarvestFarm

Available Wesselius, John-The Cornucopia Sioux Center Produce, poultry, pork Sioux

Wesselius, John

Farm and Location: The Cornucopia, Sioux Center, IA (44 miles north of Sioux City)

Experience: 13 years

About the Farm: We grow Certified Naturally Grown vegetables as well as some poultry and pork. We market our vegetables through a community supported agriculture program, farmers markets and institutions. Our poultry and pork is marketed direct to consumer.

Job Title: Farm Worker

Terms, Hours, Status: Full-time, 40 hours per week roughly 7 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday.. Flexibility is possible with the right candidate. Pay starts at $9 per hour, potential for higher starting wage if candidate demonstrates experience.

Other Benefits:  Surplus produce

On-farm Housing: Possibly.

Work Activities: Activities include seed, feed, weed, harvest, pack, and repeat. Plant, transplant, harvest wash and pack. Perhaps some delivery, farmers market retail as needed. Cultivate, mow, distribute compost, turn manure, poultry chores. In 2018 we will selling strawberries as pick your own crop.

Minimum Qualifications: Able to work outside in all weather, stand for long periods of time, lift at least 50 pounds, possess a valid drivers’ license. We farm at 3 locations, being able to drive to each place and to work independently is important.

Skills Desired: The most important skill to possess will be an eagerness to learn about organic farming.  Past farming experience including operating large farm equipment a plus.

Start Date (approx): May 1; can be flexible.

End Date (approx): September 1; can be flexible.

Contact: John Wesselius, jhw@mtcnet.net

Website:  thecornucopiacsa.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cornucopiafarm

Contact Information

For any questions about the Labor4Learning program, contact Steve at steve@practicalfarmers.org.