Bedford-area farmers seeking aspiring farmer for an on-farm training opportunity

For Release: March 22, 2017

BEDFORD, Iowa – Paul and Nancy Ackley, of Bedford, are hoping their farm can serve as a training ground for an aspiring farmer during the 2017 growing season.

The Ackleys are among 14 experienced farmers from across Iowa who have committed to hire an employee through Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Labor4Learning program. Along with a paid on-farm job, they will provide additional training on topics essential to becoming a successful farmer.

Paul and Nancy raise beef cattle and hair sheep using managed grazing practices, and grow corn, soybeans and small grains in extended rotations. They were approved to serve as a trainer farm by a committee of Practical Farmers of Iowa members.

“We believe strongly in building and maintaining soil health,” Paul says. “Diversifying with wheat, livestock and cover crops are important components to that. We are happy to support the next generation of Iowa farmers and to employ an aspiring farmer looking for experience on a diversified crop and livestock farm.”

Their training opportunity will involve setting up paddocks, moving cattle, checking and installing waterers, bonding sheep to cattle, and drilling cover crops, among other responsibilities. The Ackleys will also work with their employee to develop a set of learning outcomes that address important issues for running a farm business.

Full job details, dates and information on how to contact the Ackleys to apply can be found at https://www.practicalfarmers.org/labor4learning. To qualify as a trainee, the applicant must have a strong desire to learn; apply to and be hired by a trainer farm; and become a member of Practical Farmers of Iowa.

Having sufficient on-farm work experience is vital to the success of new farmers just starting on their own. Most on-farm employment opportunities, however, are limited in scope and don’t expose employees to the full range of skills needed to successfully run a farm business.

Practical Farmers’ Labor4Learning program – now entering its fifth year – helps fill this need by connecting aspiring farmers seeking paid on-farm training with experienced farmers looking for eager employees, and by emphasizing additional training on topics such as finances, marketing and other skills vital to running a farm business.

The program has benefits for both parties: Experienced farmers find high quality, motivated workers; aspiring farmers find employment on a reputable farm, gain training beyond their wage-earning activities and build a network of beginning and experienced farmers through Practical Farmers of Iowa.

Job opportunities through the program are found across the state and encompass a diversity of enterprises, such as greenhouse production, livestock, dairies, produce and row crops. Each job in the program varies in duration, hours, work activities, and compensation. The full list of openings is available at https://www.practicalfarmers.org/labor4learning.


Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit https://www.practicalfarmers.org.

Contact:  Steve Carlson | Beginning Farmer and Program Associate | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | steve@practicalfarmers.org