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)
  • Special “Spring Training” Farminars geared to your needs
  • 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.

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.

Check back in January for an updated list of Trainers for 2017

2016 Labor4Learning Trainers

Trainee Position Status Trainer and Farm Town Enterprises County Details
Available Ackley, Paul and Nancy Bedford Beef cattle, Corn, Soybeans, Small Grains, Hair Sheep Taylor

Ackley, Paul and Nancy

Farm location:

Bedford, IA (120 miles SW of Des Moines)

Experience: 47 years

About the farm: We grow beef cattle, corn, soybeans, small grains and hair sheep using no-till, extended rotations and managed grazing using no pesticides for livestock. We sell to commodity markets.

Job Title: Intern

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours start at 20/week and are variable. Pay rate $12/ hour or commensurate with experience.

Other Benefits: N/A

On-farm Housing: N/A

Work Activities: setting up paddocks, moving cattle, checking and installing waters, bonding sheep to cattle. Drilling cover crops, constructing low water crossings, building fence both permanent high tensile and barb/woven wire.

Minimum Qualifications: Lift 50 pounds, stand and or walk for extended periods. Valid driver's license.

Skills Desired: Tractor experience a plus. Livestock experience a plus.

Start Date (approx): March 15

End Date (approx): November 1

Contact: Paul Ackley pnackley@unitedwb.coop

Website:  N/A

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 north of Des Moines)

Experience: 22 & 34 years

About the farm: We grow organic row crops, small grains, hay and pasture. Beef cow/calf, ewe flock and lambs, laying hens and occasional broilers. Our production practices include certified organic, organic ridge-till, experimenting with organic no-till, three and five-year crop rotations, cover crops, managed grazing, corn and soybeans for organic wholesale markets. Rye, oats and soybeans contracted for organic seed. Hay fed on farm. Calves and lambs currently marketed to conventional, commodity markets.

Job Title: Farm Assistant

Terms, Hours, Status: Full-time at 40/week. Pay rate $14 - 16/hour or commensurate with experience.

Other Benefits: Stipend toward health coverage--approximately $150/mo.

On-farm Housing: N/A (can help locate housing)

Work Activities: Machinery operation and servicing. Building construction and repair. Implementing grazing plan, brush clearing and fence maintenance.

Minimum Qualifications: Able to work outside in almost all weather, possess a valid driver’s license, experience with farm machinery.

Skills Desired: Experience with livestock, problem-solving skills, a self-starter.

Start Date (approx): March 1

End Date (approx): Ongoing

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

Website:  N/A

Filled 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: Full-time at 40/week. Annual salary $27,000

Other benefits: Health insurance, flexible schedule, paid vacation

On-farm Housing: N/A

Work Activities: 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.

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.

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): Posthaste

End Date (approx): Late 2019

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

Filled Beebout, Jill and Sean Skeehan-Blue Gate Farm Chariton Produce, poultry, alpacas, honey bees, fruit trees, value added products, hay Marion

Beebout, Jill and Sean Skeehan

Farm and Location: Blue Gate Farm., Chariton, IA (53 miles south of Des Moines)

Experience: 10 years

About the farm: We grow produce, poultry, alpacas, honey bees, fruit trees, value added products, hay. We are Certified Naturally Grown, 100% chemical free, and utilize crop rotations, cover crops and rotational grazing. We sell fresh produce for farmers market and CSA, value added products including jams and fiber products for farmers market and online sales.

Job Title: Farm Crew

Terms, Hours, Status: Full-time at 40/week. Pay rate $8/hour

Other benefits:  Fresh produce & eggs on an as available basis.

On-farm Housing: N/A

Work Activities: The duties of the farm crew include assisting the farmers in soil preparation, planting, cultivating, harvesting, cleaning and packing produce during the week. Work areas include the fields, high tunnels, barn and orchards. The crew is requested to assist on two special events (on-farm) over the course of the season that involve Sunday hours all other hours are M-F.

Minimum qualifications: Farm crew members should be able to work outside in all weather, stand for extended periods of time, kneel/squat for extended periods of time, lift at least 50 pounds, possess a valid drivers’ license

Skills desired: Previous horticulture experience is a plus, but not a requirement

Start Date (approx): April

End Date (approx): October

Contact: Jill Beebout skeebout@bluegatefarmfresh.com

Website: www.bluegatefarmfresh.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Blue-Gate-Farm-73120835758/

Filled Cory, Tom and Mary-Cory Family Farm Elkhart Beef, Sheep,poultry, Hay, Pasture Polk

Cory, Tom and Mary

Farm and Location: Cory Family Farm, Elkhart, IA (17 miles north of Des Moines)

Experience: 21 years

About the farm: We raise beef cattle, sheep, poultry, hay , and possibly pork again in 2016. Garden and fruit for home use. We use paddock grazing , some non gmo crops.  We are moving beyond organics. We sell at two farmers markets, three grocery stores and home delivery.

Job Title: Livestock and General Labor

Terms, Hours, Status: 20/week. Pay rate $8.50/hour or commensurate with experience.

Other benefits:  N/A

On-farm Housing: N/A

Work Activities: General day to day movement of livestock, general farmers market preparation and occasional selling, lambing care April till end of May, gardening, or any other duties as assigned.

Minimum qualifications: Valid driver’s license, lift at least 50 lbs, communication skills , outside work mainly, willing to share ideas and a willingness to learn.  To take directions and carry thru, work alone at times, and being a self starter.

Skills desired: livestock, tractor, use of hand tools, organization skills. Carpentry skills a plus.

Start Date (approx): March

End Date (approx): November

Contact: Tom Cory tom@coryfamilyfarm.com

Website:  coryfamilyfarm.com

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

Filled Faux, Rob - Genuine Faux Farm Tripoli Certified Organic Fruits and Vegetables, Poultry Bremer

Faux, Rob and Tammy

Farm and Location: Genuine Faux Farm, Tripoli, IA (26 miles north of Waterloo)

Experience: 12 years

About the farm: We grow certified organic horticultural crops and manage a pastured poultry system using organic methods. We use cover crops, intercropping techniques, many heirloom varieties, high tunnel production and are a no-spray operation. Our markets include 120 member CSA, fresh produce for local preschool, public school, and elderly care. We do sell some product at farmers market and retail stores. Direct sale of starter plants, meat, poultry and eggs. Product is sold locally.

Job Title: Farm Crew Member

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours are variable. Pay paid a regular salary commensurate with experience, approximately $9.00-$10.00 per hour.

Other benefits:  lunch on the farm, customized share of produce/poultry, flexible scheduling

On-farm Housing: N/A

Work Activities: Everything from seeding, transplanting, weeding, harvest, cleaning and packing.  Potentially fence maintenance, building repair and other projects.  Mulch laying, irrigation setup and all other farm tasks depending on workers training level.  Mostly hand equipment, larger equipment dependant on individual and circumstance.

Minimum qualifications: Work in all weather, must be able to lift 50lbs. Secure transportation to/from work.  Willing to work some long days.

Skills desired: Must be willing to work consistently with or without supervision.  Willingness to learn and improve.  Some knowledge of growing a plus.

Start Date (approx): May

End Date (approx): October

Contact: Rob Faux gff@genuinefauxfarm.com

Website:  genuinefauxfarm.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GenuineFauxFar

Filled Hartmann, Rick and Stacy – Small Potatoes Farm Minburn Certified Organic Fruits and Vegetables, Poultry Dallas

Hartmann, Rick and Stacy

Farm and Location: Small Potatoes Farm, Minburn, IA (35 miles NW of Des Moines)

Experience: 12 years

About the farm: Our farm mainly grows a diversity of horticulture crops, a minor amount of small fruits and houses a small laying flock. We have been certified organic continuously since 2005, and the majority of our products are sold through Community Supported Agriculture. We currently have one wholesale grocery account and one restaurant account.

Job Title: Farm Crew Member

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours are full-time at 40/week but may be variable. Pay rate is commensurate with experience, approximately $9.50-$11.50 per hour.

Other benefits:  Daily lunch, 30 min. paid. Vegetables.

On-farm Housing: N/A

Work Activities: Work activities center around two main tasks - managing weeds and packing shed delivery preparation. Manging weeds involves several strategies, including pushing a wheel hoe, using handled and hand hoes and hand weeding. Packing shed duties include washing, weighing and packaging vegetables, filling and dumping water, sorting and cleaning. Other activities are too numerous to mention, but include mulching, thinning, pruning, digging, harvesting, staking, and planting vegetables. Some care of chickens may also be required. Occasional jobs might include maintenance such as painting, cutting wood or delivering orders.

Minimum qualifications: Work sometimes must proceed regardless of weather conditions. Candidates should be able to work in cold, wet or hot conditions. Being physically fit is necessary as work can often be fast-paced for long periods of time. Ability to lift 50 or more lbs

Skills desired: Skills desired are punctuality, reliability, basic plant biology, ability to understand and become proficient in complex tasks, attention to detail, the ability to communicate, the ability to think ahead and anticipate problems and make adjustments when necessary, the ability to understand the larger rational behind specific tasks, the ability to work independently for long periods, self-starting.

Start Date (approx): April 15

End Date (approx): November 1

Contact: Rick Hartmann smpotatofarm@yahoo.com

Website:  www.smallpotatoesfarm.com

Facebook:

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: 18 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 farmer’s market and direct to consumers.

Job Title: Farm Labor

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

Other benefits:  Excess produce

On-farm Housing: N/A

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.  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 1

End Date (approx): October 31

Contact: James Nisly organicgreens@kctc.net

Website:  OGitsfresh.com

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

Filled O'Brien, Denise and Larry Harris-Rolling Acres Farm Atlantic Produce, cover crops, poultry Cass

O’Brien, Denise and Larry Harris

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

Experience: 40 years

About the farm: We are a 65 member CSA with fruit, vegetables, chicken and turkey. We have a moveable high tunnel, a low tunnel, and new for 2016 a greenhouse. Both the high and low tunnel are certified organic, with the rest of the farm using organic practices. We will likely certify the rest of the farm in 2016. 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 at 20/week. 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 1

End Date (approx): October 31

Contact: Denise O’Brien rollingacres76@gmail.com

Website:  http://rollingacres76.com/

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

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: 2 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/week. Pay rate is commensurate with experience, approximately $8.00 per hour.

Other benefits:  N/A

On-farm Housing: N/A

Work Activities: Spring planting, working with tomato and basil crops; watering, picking, packing, pruning and other activities.

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/Salama-Greenhouse-Flower-Shop-189756561038508/

Filled Sessions, Erik - Patchwork Green Farm Decorah Naturally grown fruits, vegetables, herbs and cut flowers Winneshiek

Sessions, Erik

Farm and Location: Patchwork Green Farm, Decorah, IA (78 miles NE of Waterloo)

Experience: 18 years

About the farm: We grow a wide variety of vegetables and herbs and a few cut flowers. We market all of our products in Decorah through a traditional CSA program, as well as a thriving market share CSA program. We attend the twice-weekly market in Decorah from June through October. We also make weekly or bi-weekly deliveries to two restaurants and the local food coop grocery store, and work occasionally with caterers, the local college and other special events. We do not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides on our farm, choosing instead to grow flavorful, nutritious food using sustainable, natural methods. Because all of our sales are local and we are completely open about our cultural practices, we have opted not to pursue costly and time-consuming Organic Certification.

Job Title: Garden Crew Intern

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours are full-time at 40/week. Pay rate is $12.00 per hour.

Other benefits:  N/A

On-farm Housing: N/A

Work Activities: We try to do a variety of tasks each day and each week.  They will include: transplanting, weeding, trellising, watering, harvesting, washing, packaging, some delivery and market selling if interested.

Minimum qualifications: Appropriate footwear, clothing and gloves for all seasons; a strong back and ability to lift 50# repeatedly, a vehicle to get to work (often carpooling with other employees).

Skills desired: We appreciate employees with lots of questions/curiosity about the work we are doing.  We also appreciate people who are quick with their hands, efficient in their work, and are observant enough to learn from others' example.  A positive attitude and a willingness to work hard are the only prerequisites!

Start Date (approx): April 15

End Date (approx): October 31

Contact: Erik Sessions eriksessions@gmail.com

Website:  patchworkgreen.com

Facebook: facebook.com/patchworkgreen/

Filled Shriver, Scott Jefferson Organic row crops. small grains, alfalfa Greene

Shriver, Scott

Farm and Location: Shriver Farms, LLC, Jefferson, IA (42 miles west of Ames)

Experience: 21 years

About the farm: We grow row crops, small grains, and alfalfa on 1800 acres of certified organic ground. Corn, soybeans (feed and food grade), wheat, and alfalfa raised for organic markets.

Job Title: Farm Worker

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours are full-time at 40/week. Pay rate is $13.00 per hour.

Other benefits:  N/A

On-farm Housing: Yes, Either a farm house in the country or an apartment in Jefferson.

Work Activities: Equipment maintenance and make ready for field operations.  Tending to planter and sprayer, cultivating, scouting fields, picking up rocks, pulling weeds.  Assisting with harvest of crops.  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 about organic farming.  Past farming experience including operating large farm equipment a plus.

Start Date (approx): May 1*

End Date (approx): Nov 1*

*We are willing to work with a special schedule, such as a student's, if necessary

Contact: Scott Shriver: shriverfarms@gmail.com

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: 10 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: May 1 to Sept 1, 7 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday is a typical work week. Flexibility  is possible with the right candidate. Pay starts at $8/hour, potential for higher starting wage if candidate demonstrates experience

Other benefits:  surplus produce

On-farm Housing: Possibly.

Work Activities: 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.

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.

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: Flexibility  is possible with the right candidate.

End Date (approx): September 1: Flexibility  is possible with the right candidate.

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.