Published Mar 26, 2018

Sioux Center-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 |


SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – John Wesselius of The Cornucopia is seeking to hire an employee for the coming growing season, and is willing to provide the right candidate with additional training on topics important for running a farm business.

Wesselius is 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.

John raises Certified Naturally Grown vegetables as well as some poultry and pork. He markets the vegetables through a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA), farmers markets and institutions, and the poultry and pork is sold direct to consumer.

“I would like to be part of Labor4Learning because I’m always learning from people that work for me as much as they learn from me,” says John. “Our farm has been called the “learning farm” more than once. Students may come and go, but they reach back with text or email questions, requests for references or to send me pictures of their high tunnel or field crops.”

The job opening with The Cornucopia is full-time, starting in May. The primary work activities include seeding, feeding, weeding, harvesting, packing, mowing and poultry chores. Tasks may also include working the farmer’s market and making deliveries.

Full job details, dates and information on how to contact The Cornucopia 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