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Labor4Learning: Earn Money and Skills as a Beginning Farmer
Iowa Ag Connection - 04/02/2024

Labor4Learning, an initiative by Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI), is offering an exciting opportunity for beginning farmers to gain practical experience in farming while earning money. With a mission to equip farmers with the skills needed to build resilient farms and communities, PFI's Labor4Learning program connects beginning farmers with experienced mentors across Iowa.

With over 8,000 members, PFI is a renowned nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting farmers in adopting regenerative farming practices and growing their farm businesses. The Labor4Learning program is one of the ways PFI fulfills its commitment to nurturing the next generation of farmers.

Through the Labor4Learning program, beginning farmers have the chance to work alongside experienced farmers who are dedicated to mentoring and imparting their knowledge. Participants will receive hands-on training in various aspects of farming, including record-keeping, marketing, and other essential skills crucial for farm success.

Sara Ziehr, a Labor4Learning trainee from West Branch, Iowa, highlighted the value of the program, stating, "Working with Donna Warhover at Morning Glory Farm fast-tracked my farming experience. I was able to observe a well-run farm with established procedures and got to be hands-on with a variety of tools and equipment."

Unlike some on-farm jobs that may not provide exposure to the full spectrum of farm operations, Labor4Learning offers a comprehensive job experience. This ensures that participants gain a thorough understanding of the responsibilities involved in running a farm operation.

Rachel Burke, PFI's beginning farmer engagement coordinator, emphasized the importance of the Labor4Learning program in providing aspiring farmers with the opportunity to explore different farming enterprises and styles before making significant commitments.

The program features trainer farms approved by a committee of PFI members, offering diverse learning experiences in various farming enterprises and production practices. Farms across Iowa, including locations in Decorah, Elkport, Central City, Ames, Mechanicsville, Boone, Slater, and Mt. Vernon, are currently hosting open positions.

To apply for open positions and learn more about the program, interested individuals can visit PFI's website. Applications require resumes and references submitted directly to the trainer farm. Successful applicants receive a PFI membership, networking opportunities, and discounts to PFI learning events.

For inquiries about the Labor4Learning program, individuals can contact Rachel Burke at 515-232-5661.

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