Employment & Training
If you know of, or run a training program for farmers that is not listed below, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Job Search Websites
- Friends of Family Farmers’ jobs page: Oregon-wide,
- Jobs in sustainable agriculture education collected by SAEA,
- CNRG: Portland-area
- Farm and Food Jobs is a user-friendly, national resource for finding jobs, or finding employees.
Apprenticeship and Internship Programs
Apprenticeships Are accredited training programs in which the apprentice earns a “degree” in a particular trade. They are not exempt from minimum wage requirements.Interested parties must form a state apprenticeship board in order to create an apprenticeship listed in the list of federally-recognized apprenticeships. This federal list includes several types of agricultural internships, but the state of Oregon does not currently recognize any apprenticeships in agricultural fields.
Internships: The Bureau of Labor and Industries distinguishes internships at for-profit businesses from “work” using a 6-factor federal test. Among other things, interns cannot displace regular employees, and the business may not directly benefit from the intern’s work, and may in fact be hindered. Interns are exempt from minimum wage requirements, so for-profits that offer these work-based learning opportunities need not pay them.
- FarmNext Internship Program, Rogue Farm Corps (RFC): Now in two locations in Oregon, Rogue Farm Corps provides a legal farm internship, which includes hands-on training, classroom learning and farm-based education for either 1 year or 2+ years. Host farms include a diverse network of commercial family farms in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley and in the Eugene area. RFC will expand to Central Oregon and the Portland area by 2015. Application deadline is March 15th. Program lasts from April to October.
- Agricultural Craftsman Internship at Excelsior Farm: Excelsior Farm is a 5-acre craft farm southeast of Eugene. The internship combines hands-on learning with coursework and discussions. Interns meet on the farm every Tuesday and Thursday from 8am to 4pm with a lunch break and a lecture/discussion on topics in the course outline. The course runs from April 1st until the end of September. To learn more or to apply, click here>>
- Farm Internship, Zenger Farm, Portland: Zenger’s Farm Internship program offers interns all the opportunities of a traditional farm internship with the unique benefit of working on a nonprofit educational farm. Farm Interns participate in all aspects of small-farm production, learning to grow annual crops from seed to harvest and care for farm livestock. Apprentices receive on-the-job training and hands-on education throughout the course of the growing season. They are also in integral part of the Zenger Farm community, working with education staff, youth program participants, and volunteers. Interns receive a monthly stipend and weekly farm share.
- Organic Farm School (OFS) at Greenbank Farm (Greenbank, WA) – The OFS trains aspiring farmers to run successful, ecological and community-focused farms and uses its eight-acre organic farm as a real-world example. During the 7.5-month residential program, students spend one third of their time attending weekly classes, going on field trips and engaging in the writing of a personal farm business plan while spending the balance of their time co-managing the OFS farm. Through this balance of academic and experiential studies, program participants learn and experience all aspects of starting and running a small-scale organic farm. Program lasts from mid-March to the end of October. 2013 tuition costs $5,200 and scholarships are available.
Legal Alternative to Internship and Apprenticeships Many farms want to train the next generation of farmers and at least partially benefit from the intern’s labor. Many farmers struggle to pay “intern”-employees minimum wage while they teach them their craft. It is important for new farmers to understand the physical demands of the program, the time commitment required, the compensation schedule and rate, and the living situation provided (if it is provided).
For more information about how to train the next generation of farmers while complying with wage requirements, read the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s description of farm internships or see the Farmer Legal Action Group’s (FLAG’s) workbook on farm internships>>>
Resources for Employers
- Farm Commons‘ extensive resource page with model employee manuals, including an hiring paperwork checklist, and a sample employee handbook for farmhands.
- US Department of Labor Employment Law Guide
- Oregon Secretary of State’s resource guide on how to comply with employment rules.
- ODA’s resource page on agricultural employment>>
- Farming and the Law - resources from the Greenhorns on worker’s comp, internships and apprenticeships
- Practical Farmers of Iowa has compiled a list of answers to many labor questions
College Programs in Oregon:
- Blue Mountain Community College – Agriculture and Farm Business Management
- Chemeketa Community College – Horticulture, Agribusiness, Winemaking, Wine Marketing and Vineyard management
- Clackamas Community College – New Certificate in Urban Agriculture.
- Oregon State University, its online program, and its sister program at Eastern Oregon University
- Agricultural Business Management Program (Eugene) – a 2-year program offered by Lane Community College Small Business Development Center covering basic farm business start-up, business planning and more advanced topics like operations management, human resources, sourcing and continuous improvement. The class is co-taught by OSU Extension Host agent an a business specialist, and includes farm visits and on-site specific advising sessions. There is no deadline – classes are open-enrollment. Sessions are 6-9 pm, October through May/June.
- Beginning Urban Farm Apprentice (BUFA), OSU Extension and Multnomah County: BUFA includes classroom and hands-on training in production and marketing along with providing participants with two levels of commitment to apprentice-style education on two educational farms. This program emphasizes hand-scale farm production in an urban or peri-urban setting. Application period is open from November 15 to January 15. Program begins at the beginning of April.
- Building Farmers in the West, Regional Collaboration of University Extension Programs: This 8-session course focuses on developing a business and marketing plan for a small farm business.
- Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management, OSU Extension Small Farms Program: This 8-session workshop series provides participants with tools and knowledge of the financial, biological, and human aspects of a farm business. Participants hear from expert farmers and other agricultural professionals in order to gain perspective on the interconnectedness of each component of the farm, assess their resources, and develop a whole farm plan.There is no deadline – classes are open-enrollment. Sessions are 6-9 pm, October through May/June.
Incubators are educational farms that can provide beginning farmers with some or all of the following while they develop their farm business: land, equipment, resources, advice and education. For resources on how to start a Farm Incubator, see the The National Incubator Farm Training Initiative’s Farm Incubator Toolkit.
- East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) Incubator: The incubator is designed to provide the means by which farm workers and other emerging farmers can prove profitability and win financing to start an independent farm business. The goals include facilitating successful transition to the next generation of farmers, expanding markets for locally-grown products, and fostering a strong stewardship ethic. It is still in development and is planned to launch in 2013. Contact Jean Fike at EMSWCD.
- Southern Oregon Farmer Incubator helps beginning farmers start and sustain their businesses while providing needed fresh produce to the Rogue Valley community. The program is a collaboration between the Oregon State University Small Farms program and Thrive in partnership with Friends of Family Farmers and Rogue Farm Corps. Participants can opt to participate in one or more program elements focusing on: Hands-on farming experience and skill-building, Agricultural theory and practice, Business planning and skill-building, Market access and subsidy, Land link services, Peer mentoring groups.
Classes and Workshops
These events focused on specific topics that are relevant to farmers. Examples would be a composting workshop or class on applying for NRCS grants. They may be offered on a rotation basis or be one-time opportunities. Organizations offering these opportunities include:
- Small Farms Conference, February in Corvallis
- Small Farm School, September at Clackamas Community College
- Master Gardener Program – in 29 counties
- Annual Horticulture Society Meeting: All-day workshops in January in Canby. Includes an organic crops section.
- Living on a Few Acres (LOAFA): All-day, yearly conference in late February/early March in Central Oregon.
- Grow the Coast: All-day, yearly conference on the North Coast.
- Friends of Family Farmers
- FarmON! Oregon
- Oregon Tilth
- Tryon Life Community Farm (TLC Farm)
- Zenger Farm
Courses for Targeted Populations
- Adelante Agricultura, Adelante Mujeres, Forest Grove: A 12-week course, taught in Spanish, which covers production, marketing, and business aspects of farm management. The course includes both classroom education and hands-on education at La Esperanza Farm.
- Refugee Farmer Programs, MercyCorps NW: This includes a collection of farmer education and support programs offered to immigrant populations. The programs include education, marketing, support, and assistance with land access.
- Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC): a nationwide educational program designed to help students develop an awareness and understanding that agriculture is the source of our food, clothing, shelter and other essentials. Operated in Oregon by OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
- Zenger Farm
*Friends of Family Farmers provides these resources solely for educational purposes. Friends of Family Farmers neither favors nor endorses any of the organizations listed on this website, nor are they responsible for any incorrect information that is listed on the hyperlinked external sites.*