Published Mar 26, 2018

Decorah-area farm providing on-farm training opportunity for an aspiring farmer

By Tamsyn Jones

For Release: March 26, 2018


Steve Carlson | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |

DECORAH, Iowa – Dan and Bonnie Beard of Canoe Creek Dairy are seeking to hire an employee for the coming growing season, and are willing to provide the right candidate with additional training on topics important for running a farm business.

The Beards are among 14 experienced farmers from around the state who have committed to hire an employee through Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Labor4Learning program. Each Labor4Learning trainer farm was approved by a committee of Practical Farmers members to serve as qualified teachers.

Dan and Bonnie operate a certified organic farm with a dairy, beef cattle, pasture, hay, small grains, corn, sweet corn, maple syrup, and timber. They use managed intensive grazing practices, and sell their milk to Organic Valley and beef to Organic Prairie as well as the Oneota Food Coop.

“We’d like to share our system with interested young people,” Dan says. “We have many tasks that can be done by a single person but are more enjoyable and efficiently accomplished by two or more people. This lends itself to pairing an experienced worker with a new worker so that learning takes place as the job is being done.”

The job opening at Canoe Creek Dairy is part-time and flexible, preferably starting in May. Work activities include milking, calf feeding, moving cows to paddocks, moving fence, building fence, haying and many other related activities.

Full job details, dates and information on how to contact Canoe Creek Dairy to apply can be found at 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 be successful.

Now entering its sixth year, Practical Farmers’ Labor4Learning program helps fill this need by connecting aspiring farmers seeking paid on-farm training with experienced farmers looking for eager employees.

In addition to their normal job responsibilities, those in the program receive training on topics such as record keeping, marketing and other skills important for running a farm business. At the start of employment, the trainer and trainee agree on a set of learning outcomes to address during the course of employment, beyond the normal job-related work activities.


Practical Farmers of Iowa works to equip farmers to build resilient farms and communities. Our values include: welcoming everyone; farmers leading the exchange of experience and knowledge; curiosity, creativity, collaboration and community; resilient farms now and for future generations; and stewardship of land and resources. To learn more, visit