Sioux Center-area farmer seeks aspiring farmer for on-farm training opportunity

For Release: March 22, 2017

Sioux Center, Iowa – John Wesselius of The Cornucopia Farm near Sioux Center is hoping his farm can serve as a training ground for an aspiring farmer during the 2017 growing season.

John is among 14 experienced farmers from around the state who have committed to hire an employee through the Practical Farmers of Iowa Labor4Learning program. Along with a paid on-farm job, he’ll provide the candidate with additional training in topics essential to be a successful farmer.

The Cornucopia grows Certified Naturally Grown vegetables as well as some poultry and pork. They market the vegetables through a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA), at farmers markets and to local institutions. John was approved to serve as a trainer farm by a committee of Practical Farmers of Iowa members.

The job opening is full-time beginning in May, but can be flexible if necessary. Activities involve all aspects of the farm: seeding, feeding, weeding, harvesting and packing. Occasional responsibilities include making deliveries and working the farmer’s market stand. In addition to these, John will work with the 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 John to apply can be found at http://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 http://practicalfarmers.org/labor4learning.

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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 http://practicalfarmers.org.

Contact:  Steve Carlson | Beginning Farmer and Program Associate | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | [email protected]