Labor4Learning Trainers 2020

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.

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. For all other questions about the program or Practical Farmers of Iowa, please contact Greg Padget at greg@practicalfarmers.org or by calling (515) 232-5661.

NameFarm NameTownJob TitleStatus
Hannah BreckbillHumble Hands HarvestDecorahSeasonal WorkerAvailable
Tom CoryCory Family FarmElkhartFarm Store Assistant ManagerAvailable
James FrantzenFrantzen FarmElmaFarm OperatorAvailable
Dean HenryBerry Patch LLC.NevadaFarm Crew MemberAvailable
Marcus and Emma JohnsonBuffalo Ridge OrchardCentral CityFarm Crew MemberAvailable
Zach KnutsonGreenbelt FarmsMeserveyFarm Manager TraineeAvailable
Will Lorentzen, Adrian WhiteJupiter Ridge FarmGarberFarm HandAvailable
Martha McFarlandHawkeye Buffalo RanchFredericksburgRanch AssistantAvailable
Jenny QuinerDogpatch Urban GardensDes MoinesFarm HandAvailable
Dale and Marcie RaaschBridgewater FarmBridgewaterTeam MemberAvailable
Derek RollerEchollective FarmMechanicsvilleField Crew MemberAvailable
Mike SalamaSalama Greenhouse IncBooneAssistant GrowerAvailable
Erik SessionsPatchwork Green FarmDecorahGarden Crew MemberAvailable
Tom Wahl and Kathy DiceRed Fern FarmWapelloFarm WorkerAvailable
Donna WarhoverMorning Glory LLCMt. VernonFarm AssistantAvailable

Hannah BreckbillHannah Breckbill

Humble Hands Harvest, Decorah

Website | Facebook

Experience: 7 years

About the farm: We raise certified organic vegetables, rotationally graze sheep and are adding perennial crops and pastured pork. Our produce is sold through our CSA, the farmers market in Decorah and through aggregators and distributors in northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota.

Job title: Seasonal Worker

Terms, hours, status: Pay rate is $10 per hour or commensurate with experience. Hours are full-time, 40 hours per week.

Other benefits: Farm lunch every day, veggie seconds and discounts on meat.

On-farm housing: N/A

Work activities: Work is primarily with plants, including but not limited to: planting, transplanting, harvest, post-harvest handling, washing, packing, lifting, moving, delivering and storing plants and produce. Other work could include orchard maintenance and animal chores. Employee will work the farmers market booth a few times a month.

Minimum qualifications: Able to work well with others; listen to and follow instructions; work outside in all weather; stand for long periods of time; and lift at least 50 lbs. Must possess a valid drivers’ license and be a non-smoker.

Skills desired: A willingness to learn, and an interest in sticking around long-term.

Start date (approx): April

End date (approx): September

Contact: Hannah Breckbill, humblehandsharvest@gmail.com

Back to Top


Tom Cory

Cory Family Farm, Elkhart

Website | Facebook

Experience: 50 years

About the farm: Cory Family Farm offers the opportunity for visitors to pick fresh flowers while enjoying a farmstead atmosphere that includes: chickens, goats, sheep, horses and gardens. The on-farm store, The Hitching Post, features our all-natural beef sticks, hand-crafted items and specially selected treasures to complement the overall theme.

Job title: Farm Store Assistant Manager

Terms, hours, status: Pay rate is $10/hour, commensurate with experience; hours are part-time, 20 hours per week.

Other benefits: Fresh flowers every week when available and potentially other farm products.

On-farm housing: N/A

Work activities: Caring for flowers, weeding, deadheading, mowing and trimming to help in making the farm visitor-ready. Activities in The Hitching Post include making bouquets, running day-to-day operations and engaging with farm visitors. There is potential to help with animal chores if interested.

Minimum qualifications: Able to work in the outdoors for long periods of time and be in a working environment with no air conditioning; be able to drive to work; physically able to do garden work; willing to operate a lawn mower, weed trimmer and tiller.

Skills desired: Willing to learn flowers production, running a farm store, point of sale transactions, interest in arranging items in the farm store. Good people skills a must and problem solving skills are preferred.

Start date (approx): June

End date (approx): September

Contact: Mary Cory, mary.e.cory@gmail.com

Back to Top


James Frantzen outsideJames Frantzen

Frantzen Farm, Elma

Experience: 10 years

About the farm: Frantzen Farm is a 300-acre diversified and energetic organic crop and livestock farm, including beef and pork. The field crops we produce are fed to our livestock, with the exception of soybeans, which are produced for Stonebridge. All beef and pork is produced and sold through Organic Valley. We also produce non-certified organic poultry meat and eggs for our own use and local direct sales.

Job title: Farm Operator

Terms, hours, status: Pay rate is $12/hour, commensurate with experience; hours are full-time, 40 hours per week.

Other benefits: Clothing and footwear would be offered. Daily meals may be provided during work days. Flexible schedule and overtime after 40 hours per week.

On-farm housing: Shared housing may be available. All housing expenses covered such as heat, air conditioning and electrical.

Work activities: Livestock work includes daily chores, health treatments, movement of animals and general livestock management. Field crop activities include field prep, planting, cultivation and harvesting grain and forage. General maintenance, repairs and construction may also be necessary.

Minimum qualifications: Must be able to cope with all kinds of weather, possess a valid driver’s license, be able to lift at least 50 pounds, and know how to safely operate heavy equipment such as skid loaders and tractors. Training will be provided. Also must be comfortable working with large livestock.

Skills desired: Livestock and heavy equipment experience is preferred. Record-keeping would be beneficial, but not required.

Start date (approx): March

End date (approx): November

Contact: James Frantzen, james@riversidefeeds.net or (641) 257-8122

Back to Top


Dean and Judy Henry 3Dean Henry

Berry Patch LLC, Nevada

Website | Facebook

Experience: 52 years

About the farm: We produce a variety of berries, cherries, apples and produce. Some fruits are U-pick, and we also market through CSA shares, farmers markets, on-farm sales, local food co-ops and we have a certified kitchen.

Job title: Farm Crew Member

Terms, hours, status: Pay rate is $10/hour, or commensurate with experience; hours are variable.

Other benefits: Fresh Produce

On-farm housing: N/A

Work activities: Job responsibilities include planting, harvesting, managing orders, part-time pickers, U-pick customers, on-farm sales, and doing tractor work and mowing.

Minimum qualifications: Will adapt to employees ability

Skills desired: Good with other workers and customers, smiles a lot

Start date (approx): March

End date (approx): October

Contact: Dean Henry, dean@berrypatchfarm.com

Back to Top


Emma and Marcus Johnson croppedMarcus and Emma Johnson

Buffalo Ridge Orchard, Central City

Website | Facebook

Experience: 7 years

About the farm: We are a family-owned and operated 80-acre diversified farm that grows herb plants, vegetables, apples, pears and row crops. We use organic practices for our vegetable crops and an integrated pest management system for our orchard. We have two moveable high tunnels for extending our growing season. The apple orchard is medium and high density and we grow over 50 different varieties of apples. We sell or produce through multiple farmers markets, direct wholesale and through our CSA. This year will be the first year that we will also have a store on our farm to sell produce during the peak of apple season.

Job title: Farm Crew Member

Terms, hours, status: Pay rate is $11/hour, or commensurate with experience; hours are variable.

Other benefits: A stipend of fresh produce from the farm.

On-farm housing: N/A

Work activities: Activities include planting young apple trees, hand-thinning fruits, planting vegetable starts and installing trellising, weeding, washing and packing produce, completing required farm records, working farm markets and processing apples.

Minimum qualifications: Employees must be able to work outside in variable weather conditions, stand for long periods of time, lift at least 50 pounds, must be at least 18 year of age and posses a valid drivers license.

Skills desired: Tractor, horticultural and sales experience preferred.

Start date (approx): May 30

End date (approx): November 30

Contact: Emma Johnson, buffaloridgeorchard@gmail.com or call (563) 340-9665

Back to Top


Zach Knutson Page 04 Image 0001Zach Knutson

Greenbelt Farms, Meservey

Experience: 12 years

About the farm: We raise field crops, small grains and hay conventionally and organically. We have been renovating pastures, raising beef cows and would eventually like to add a meat goat enterprise. We are also doing some woodland improvement projects.

Job title: Farm Manager Trainee

Terms, hours, status: Pay rate is $17/hour, commensurate with experience; hours are full-time.

Other benefits: Outdoor recreational opportunities including hunting, fishing, camping and canoeing. Other potential benefits are garden produce, meat and some meals. There may be opportunity for an employee to start his or her own herd and potential year-end bonus based on employee and farm performance.

On-farm housing: Assistance with arrangements can be offered if necessary.

Work activities: Highly variable depending on weather and field conditions. Sometimes the weather requires us to work 18 hours a day. Some days are slow-paced and we regroup and re-prioritize; every day is different. Major activities will be operating tillage, planting, haying and harvest equipment. Operating skidloader, ATV with sprayer, mowers and chainsaw. Working with animals, moving hay and straw, renovating barns, making and fixing fence, and repairing equipment. Whatever the employee is asked to do will be explained and demonstrated until the employee is comfortable with the task.

Minimum qualifications: Must communicate well, be able to work outside in all weather for long hours, lift at least 60 pounds, possess a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation.

Skills desired: Experience operating heavy machinery and chainsaw are preferred. Basic computer skills including Microsoft Excel would be helpful.

Start date (approx): March

End date (approx): December

Contact: Zach Knutson, zachknutson@hotmail.com

Back to Top


Will Lorentzen, Adrian WhiteWilliam Lorentzen and Adrian White

Jupiter Ridge Farm, Garber

Website | Facebook

Experience: 10 years

About the farm: We raise vegetables, mushrooms and herbs using reduced tillage, cover crops and extended crop rotations. In 2019, we applied to become USDA certified organic. We have sold at Dubuque Farmers Market as regular vendors (summer and winter) and occasionally at other markets like Downtown Cedar Rapids Farmers Market, Dyersville Downtown Farmers Market and Millwork Night Market. We contract with over 10 different restaurants in our nearby Driftless Iowa area as well as Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and surrounding areas. We also have a small late-season CSA in Cedar Rapids.

Job title: Farm Hand

Terms, hours, status: Pay rate is $10/hour; hours are part-time.

Other benefits: Access to any available non-sale seasonal produce, and opportunity to network with our farmer network

On-farm housing: N/A

Work activities: Harvesting produce (vegetables, mushrooms, herbs), packing, storing, and labeling product, weed removal, transplanting, trellising and fencing, packing, cleanup tasks, assisting owners with priority tasks of the day.

The right high-quality and ambitious candidates may have opportunities to accompany owners for farmers market, delivery routes and networking opportunities.

Minimum qualifications: Able to work outside in all weather (heat or rain), stand for long periods of time, lift at least 50 pounds, withstand prolonged periods of physical labor, minimal physical limitations.

Skills desired: None required — all we look for is a willingness to learn and work, with a self-starting, independent and motivated spirit to really “dig in” and learn more about how to farm the way we do by extrapolating learning experiences from basic labor (the way we learned). Experience at a diverse vegetable farm is appreciated but not required.

Start date (approx): June

End date (approx): October

Contact: Will or Adrian, jupiterridgefarm@gmail.com

Back to Top


Dan martha mcfarland2Martha McFarland

Hawkeye Buffalo Ranch, Fredericksburg

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Experience: 8 years

Job title: Hawkeye Buffalo Ranch Assistant

Terms, hours, status: Pay rate is $8.00/hour, or commensurate with experience. Hours worked will vary; we can accommodate a variety of schedules of a potential worker.

Other benefits: Discounts on bison meat

On-farm housing: Camping options could also be arranged.

Work activities: Fencing, laying an above-ground waterline, assisting with daily farm activities including bison tours, herd management, making hay and building maintenance

Minimum qualifications: Applicants should be able to lift 50 lbs, work independently (after training) and be willing to learn how to drive a tractor.

Skills desired: Experience with tractors and livestock and working with the public would be preferred. Basic carpentry experience will be given preference.

Start date (approx): June

End date (approx): September

Contact: Martha McFarland, hawkeyebuffalo@gmail.com

Back to Top


Quiner, Jenny #2Jenny Quiner

Dogpatch Urban Garden, Des Moines

Website | Facebook

Experience: 3 years

About the farm: We are an urban farm on one acre of land in a residential area, with roughly a quarter of that acre under cultivation. The farm has been in operation for three seasons and specializes in growing annual vegetable crops, focusing on salad-oriented products. All crops are grown using organic methods. The business is diversified with multiple ways for the community to support the farm. The DUG Farm Stand is a seasonal onsite, locally sourced store that sells DUG products as well as other items from growers and producers throughout Iowa. DUG also sells product thorough our modified CSA (known as a Salad Subscription), to local restaurants and to the Iowa Food Co-op.

Job title: Farm Hand

Terms, hours, status: Pay rate is $10.50/hour or commensurate with experience; hours are variable.

Other benefits: Potential for health insurance

On-farm housing: N/A

Work activities: Daily field tasks such as planting, harvesting, weeding, seeding, watering, etc; work in the wash/pack house; deliver to local restaurants; help set up farm stand and work the retail site.

Minimum qualifications: Able to work outside in all weather conditions. Must lift at least 40 pounds. Strong communication skills. Must be able to work early in the morning. Must possess a valid driver’s license.

Skills desired: Vegetable production skills, and general knowledge of tools preferred.

Start date (approx): April

End date (approx): November

Contact: Jenny Quiner, jenny@dogpatchurbangardens.com

Back to Top


Dale Raasch portrait 2Dale and Marcie Raasch

Bridgewater Farm, Bridgewater

Website | Facebook

Experience: 42 years

About the farm: We raise certified organic fruits and vegetables, hay, cattle, hogs, broilers and laying hens. We use strip-till, extended crop rotations, cover crops, no antibiotics and non-GMO. We sell produce and meat through retail stores, farmers markets, a CSA, individual sales and restaurants.

Job title: Team Member

Terms, hours, status: Pay rate is $10/hour, commensurate with experience and performance; hours are full-time and variable.

Other benefits: Excess produce

On-farm housing: Arrangements can be made if necessary

Work activities: Activities include planting, weeding, harvesting and packaging. If interested, observing sales calls/bookkeeping/marketing as well. Possible farmers market sales and CSA or store deliveries.

Minimum qualifications: Able to work outside in all weather, stand and bend for long periods of time and lift at least 50 pounds. Must also possess a valid driver’s license, (good driving record if making deliveries).

Skills desired: Self-motivated to learn and willing to work at a variety of tasks associated with a horticultural farm.

Start date (approx): March

End date (approx): November

Contact: Dale Raasch, (641) 745-5368

Back to Top


Roller 10.4 197Derek Roller

Echollective Farm, Mechanicsville

Website | Facebook

Experience: 20+ years

About the farm: Echollective Farm’s Mission – “Together with our Iowa Community, Echollective Farm grows food to nourish people and the planet.” Although we no longer certify organic, we grow well over 100-plus varieties of vegetables, herbs, flowers, mushrooms and seed garlic on 15-plus acres each year using organic, sustainable practices. We use cover crops, intercropping techniques and hoop houses for season extension in our operation. Our markets include a 60-member CSA, farmers markets, seed garlic sales across the northern United States and wholesale of our produce and flowers to local grocery stores, area restaurants, florists and schools. We currently have a small flock of chickens for personal egg production and have raised pigs for ourselves in previous seasons.

Job title: Field Crew Member

Terms, hours, status: Pay rate is $9 – $10/hour, commensurate with experience; hours are full-time and variable.

Other benefits: Free veggies

On-farm housing: Possibly

Work activities: The season begins in the spring with greenhouse work. Field crew members learn seed-starting techniques and work in the hoop houses prepping beds for early crops. In summer, the vast majority of our time is spent in the field transplanting, weeding and harvesting. The field crew member will learn how to use a variety of tools to effectively control weeds. Once harvest season is in full swing, we are picking almost every morning. Everyone will learn how to harvest each crop and will work in the washroom to prep produce for market. If there is interest, a field crew member can help at a farmers market to learn aspects of selling vegetables at a market (as well as our CSA). In the fall, we continue with our weekly harvests for market in the field and hoop houses, along with bringing in all the storage crops.

Minimum qualifications: Strong commitment and effort is required and solid time management skills are essential. Additional requirements include the ability to lift at least 50 pounds, perform tasks outside in all weather conditions and to contribute positively to the team and as a part of a collaborative environment. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or Geen Card holders. Echollective Farm is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of our community and strongly encourages candidates from diverse backgrounds to apply.

Skills desired: Prior experience with farming and/or food related jobs is a plus.

Start date (approx): March

End date (approx): November

Contact: Derek Roller, echocsa@gmail.com

Back to Top


Mike Salama in Salama Greenhouse and FloralMike Salama

Salama Greenhouse Inc, Boone

Website | Facebook

Experience: 7 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: Pay rate is $10/hour, commensurate with experience; hours are part-time at 20 per week.

Other benefits: N/A

On-farm housing: N/A

Work activities: seeding, planting, watering, pruning, harvesting, packing, moving plants,

Minimum qualifications: Must be able to stand for long periods of time, dress for all weather conditions, lift at least 50 pounds 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, salama.mike@gmail.com

Back to Top


Sessions FD (33)Erik Sessions

Patchwork Green Farm, Decorah

Website

Experience: 21 years

About the farm: With 21 years of CSA and farmers market experience under our belts, we are excited to consolidate our efforts this year, focusing on wholesale accounts, record-keeping, efficiency, caring for the soil and all things sustainable (family, environment and finances). We continue to experiment with soil care, crop spacing, harvest techniques and weed suppression strategies, and we appreciate a garden crew member who is curious, takes pride in their work and efficiency and is passionate about growing vegetables. We’ll be growing vegetables and cover crops on 5 acres this year, with a combination of tractor implements, hand tools and organic practices.

Job title: Garden Crew Member

Terms, hours, status: Pay rate is $12/hour; hours worked are variable

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 and packaging.

Minimum qualifications: Appropriate footwear, clothing and gloves for all seasons; a strong back and ability to lift 50 pounds repeatedly, a vehicle to get to work (5 miles from Decorah).

Skills desired: We appreciate employees with lots of questions and 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, eriksessions@gmail.com

Back to Top


Tom Wahl and Kathy Dice

Red Fern Farm, Wapello

Website | Facebook

Experience: 26 years

About the farm: We raise tree crops which include: chestnuts, pawpaws, American persimmons, heartnuts, Asian pears, Cornelian cherries, hazels and honey berry. We have a thriving small tree nursery and sell seed nuts and scion wood through mail-order. We are just starting with a permaculture system that includes permanent ground cover, perennials and Katahdin sheep. We are not certified organic, but minimize the use of chemical fertilizers and sprays. Tree crops are marketed using U-pick and chestnuts are sold through a local chestnut cooperative.

Job title: Farm Worker

Terms, hours, status: Pay rate is $8.00/hour, or commensurate with experience. Hours worked will vary; we can accommodate a variety of schedules of a potential worker.

Other benefits: Room and board will be provided, along with use of kayaks and bicycles for excursions and access to wild areas to explore on and off our farm. Additional training on gardening and food preservation, if desired.

On-farm housing: We have a guest room/library for the intern to use. The bed is a fold-out sofa, full-size, with a memory foam mattress. We have wifi at our passive solar house. We use a composting toilet (a plus for some people) and cistern water. The intern can cook their own meals in our kitchen or share the family meals which include a lot of produce from our farm and venison. There is only one bathroom for the house and is shared with four other adults. Camping options could also be arranged.

Work activities: Spring work will include potting up sprouted seedlings into pots, managing the nursery stock, planting, pruning, mowing and managing the sheep flock. If desired, work could include managing the website and bookkeeping. Fall work will include mowing, preparing for U-pick customers, harvesting, processing and managing customers.

Minimum qualifications: Able to work outside in all weather, ability to lift 30 pounds and walk 2-4 miles a day across rough terrain. Willingness to handle large mowers and adequate English language skills are preferred,

Skills desired: Willingness to work flexible hours. Some experience with plants would be nice. Desire to learn about agroforestry essential.

Start date (approx): Spring work: mid-April; Fall work: Early September

End date (approx): Spring work; July; Fall work late October

Contact: Kathy Dice, kathy@redfernfarm.com

Back to Top


Donna WarhoverDonna Warhover

Morning Glory LLC, Mt Vernon

Website | Facebook

Experience: 7 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 Assistant

Terms, hours, status: Pay rate is $10/hour or commensurate with experience; hours are full-time and variable.

Other benefits: Workers comp insurance, fruit and vegetables available, connection to larger farm/mentor/local food movement community

On-farm housing: N/A

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 and distribution of CSA shares.

Minimum qualifications: Be able to work outside in all weather, stand for long periods of time, lift at least 50 pounds, possess a valid driver’s license, strong work ethic, ability to work in a fast-paced environment, commitment to local foods movement, adherence to Morning Glory’s vision.

Start date (approx): April

End date (approx): October

Contact: Donna Warhover, donnawarhover@gmail.com

Back to Top


Questions?

Contact Greg Padget at greg@practicalfarmers.org or call our office (515) 232-5661.