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 [email protected] 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.

2017 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: 48 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.v

Job Title: Intern

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours start at 20 per week and are variable. Pay rate $12.00 per 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 [email protected]  

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: 19 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: 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): flexible

End Date (approx): flexible

Contact: Jon Bakehouse at (712) 370-3629, or email [email protected]

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. Or organic grain is sold locally, and the forage we produce is for our livestock.

Job Title: Seasonal Intern

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours are full time at 40 per week. Pay rate is at $8.00 per hour or commensurate with experience.

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, though tractor experience would be very beneficial.

Start Date (approx): April

End Date (approx): October

Contact: Dan Beard [email protected]  

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: 11 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 per week. Pay rate starting at $8.00 per 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 [email protected]

Website: www.bluegatefarmfresh.com

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

Available Blake, Francis -Blake Family Organic Farms Waukon Certified organic beef, dairy, laying hens, row crops and hay Allamakee

Blake, Francis-Blake Family Organic Farm

Farm and Location: Blake Family Farm, Waukon, IA (94 miles NE of Waterloo)

Experience: 40+

About the Farm: We have 30 beef cows, 50 dairy cows, 5,000 laying hens, 400 crop acres for corn, soybeans hay and small grains, and 300 pasture acres. All of our acres are certified organic. Our milk and eggs are sold to Organic Valley and most beef calves are sold as feeders.

Job Title: General farm labor

Terms, Hours and Status: Variable hours dependent on schedule, up to 40 per week possible. Pay rate $10 per hour, or commensurate with experience.

Other Benefits: Meat, milk and eggs

On-farm Housing: Extra bedroom available

Work Activities: Help with milking, moving dairy cattle in pasture and other dairy activities, packing eggs, and help with haying and weeding.

Minimum Qualifications: Able to work with animals in any kind of weather.

Skills Desired: Livestock and tractor experience a plus, but we can train.

Start Date (approx): May

End Date (approx): September or potentially longer

Contact: Francis Blake, (563) 568-9044 [email protected]  

Filled Dunham, Andy 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: 11 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, Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.

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, [email protected]  

Filled 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: 7 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 Dairy 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: Full-time 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, [email protected]

Facebook: facebook.com/gibralterfarms  

Available Hafner, Jeff and Earl - Hafner, Inc Panora Cow/calf, hogs, aquaponics, eggs, organic small grains and row crops, organic flour mill and seed cleaning Guthrie

Hafner, Jeff and Earl-Hafner Inc.

Farm and Location: Hafner Inc., Panora, IA (50 miles west of Des Moines)

Experience: 30+

About the Farm: We have a diverse operation with enterprises including cow/calf pairs, finishing hogs, aquaponics, laying hens, small grains and row crops, a flour mill and seed cleaning. Our crops and flour mill are certified organic, cattle are all natural, pigs are conventional and chickens are free-range.

Job Title: Intern

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours are variable and pay is $10.00 per hour.

Other Benefits: N/A

On-farm Housing: N/A

Work Activities: Activities include all aspects of the farm, including work with cattle, hogs, fencing, operating equipment with GPS, the flour mill and seed cleaner.

Minimum Qualifications: Must communicate well, be 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: Experience with livestock and tractors.

Start Date (approx): ASAP

End Date (approx): December

Contact: Jeff Hafner, [email protected] or call (641) 757-2620

Website: www.earlymorningharvest.com  

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: 19 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, 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, 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 [email protected]

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 west 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 new in 2016 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 at 20 per 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

End Date (approx): October

Contact: Denise O’Brien [email protected]

Website:  http://rollingacres76.com/

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

Filled 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: 4 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 [email protected]

Website:  www.salamagreenhouse.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Salama-Greenhouse-Flower-Shop-189756561038508/  

Filled Sessions, Erik - Patchwork Green Farm Decorah Fruits, vegetables, herbs and cut flowers Winneshiek

Sessions, Erik

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

Experience: 19 years

About the Farm: We grow a wide variety of vegetables and herbs and a few cut flowers.  Although not certified, we grow all our crops organically.  We ship in organic compost, do lots of cover cropping and use a little bit of organic pesticide. 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.

Job Title: Garden Crew Intern

Terms, Hours, Status: Hours are full-time at 40 per week. Pay rate is $11.00 -$12.00 per hour based on experience.

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 [email protected]

Website:  patchworkgreen.com

Facebook: facebook.com/patchworkgreen/  

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: 5 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 variable. Pay rate is commensurate with experience, approximately $9.00 per hour

Other Benefits: Available produce and 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.

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): May

End Date (approx): October

Contact: Donna Warhover, [email protected]

Website: www.morningglory.community

Facebook: Morning Glory – A Community Harvest Farm

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: 11 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 $8 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.

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; can be flexible.

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

Contact: John Wesselius, [email protected]

Website:  thecornucopiacsa.com

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

Contact Information

For any questions about the Labor4Learning program, contact Steve at [email protected].