Rogue Farm Corps: Accepting Applications for 2013 Season

Rogue Farm Corps: Training the Next Generation of Farmers Farms Next is a full season of hands-on training and skill-based education in sustainable agriculture for aspiring farmers and ranchers. Through an innovative and cooperative model, Farms Next combines up to 1500 hours of field training with a mentor farmer, 75 hours of classroom learning with agricultural professionals and expert farmers, 15 tours of local farms, and opportunities for farm-based... Read More

The Importance of Farmer Training Programs

Thousands of farmers and ranchers from around the country have benefited from trainings and educational events paid for by the USDA’s funding initiative, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.  However, all these trainings are at risk unless Congress backs down on its attempt to use the program as a budgetary scapegoat: in the next couple weeks, they will most likely put together a temporary Farm Bill, and the BFRDP may be pulled... Read More

Washington’s FIELD Intership Program Accepting Applications for Summer 2012!

photo credit: Ellen Sabina The FIELD program on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is an innovative internship opportunity for beginning farmers, combining formal education with field-based experience in sustainable agriculture. FIELD is a  collaborative approach to farm education, bringing together a variety of host farms and Jefferson County’s Washington State University Extension to better meet the educational interests of farm interns... Read More

Washington State Takes Legislative Steps to Legalize Farm Internships

Washington State has become the first state in the country to take legislative steps towards legalizing agricultural internships. The Small Farm Internship Bill completed a very small two year pilot program in just two counties and is now working its way through the house and senate once again as an extended 5 year program in 14 counties. On February 11th, the Small Farm Internship Bill (SB 6392) came up for a vote in the Senate and passed 47 to... Read More

FoodCorps Opens Applications for 2012 School Food Change-Makers

FoodCorps, a national organization that works to address food issues in underserved communities, has called for applications for its second annual class of service members. The organization will be hiring up to one hundred people for positions in 12 states across the country. The 2012 corps will work full-time for one year in school food systems, expanding hands-on nutrition education programs, building and tending school gardens, and sourcing fresh,... Read More

The Intern That Isn’t: Part 2

Under  federal law, interns are very different than regular employees. The six criteria for a valid internship make it difficult, but possible, for a farm to utilize interns. Farms must pay careful attention to program structure, not use interns as a labor source, and communicate clearly with interns. What’s the situation? Internships are a very common way for farms, and many other industries, to trade wages for an educational experience. The problem... Read More

Legal and Insured Farm Internships in the Works in WA

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries is taking a new approach to farm internships. In 2010, the Washington legislature authorized the Small Farm Internship pilot program in Skagit and Island counties, allowing young and beginning farmers to intern on small farms in order to learn about farming and farm businesses.  This program does several important things for farms and eager  interns. One is that it acknowledges the work-for-learning... Read More

The Intern That Isn’t: Federal law and farm internships

Regardless of an individual’s title, if an employee does work that benefits the farm then that individual does not meet the legal definition of an intern. Barring some other exception, that person is a regular employee and should be paid the minimum wage. This criteria make it a challenge for many farms to offer internships at less than minimum wage. What’s the situation? Many farms all across the country host interns each summer. Internship... Read More