Beginning Farmer News & Updates
New Labor4Learning Opportunities Open
Would you like to get paid while gaining on-the-job training from an experienced farmer?

The Labor4Learning program can offer you this opportunity. Practical Farmers of Iowa "trainer" farmers have started to accept applications for the upcoming growing season. Browse the training opportunities near you. This season, 14 experienced farmers from around the state have signed on to hire an employee through the program and to provide that additional training. 

These jobs are found across the state and encompass diverse enterprises, such as greenhouse production, livestock, dairies, produce and row crops. Each job opening in the program varies in duration, hours, work activities and compensation. 
Donna Warhover at Morning Glory Farm near Mount Vernon was a trainer farm in the 2017 season. She sees the value of a program that provides an immersive farm experience for those just starting out: “Farming is not for the faint of heart. Some folks think it would be so fun to be their own boss and play in the garden all day without factoring in work days that begin at dawn and end at dark, seven days a week, for six months straight. It is hard physical labor in all kinds of weather, paired with all the brain work of running a business.”
Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) wants to know who among sustainable food growers (fruit, nut, veggie, managed grazing) are interested in accessing affordable land in Iowa. If you are a beginning farmers seeking land you can complete this survey to let SILT know what might interest you.

Berry Patch hosting Annual Pruning Workshop
Saturday March 24, 1-4 pm
Berry Patch, 62785 280th St., Nevada
Learn the basics of fruit tree pruning, blueberry culture, brambles. Explanations,tours, demonstrations, hands on experience. This workshop is for the homeowner, gardener, new orchardist, or curious. 
Contact Dean Henry at to register. $15 fee includes class room, some handouts, demonstrations, light snacks. 

Apply for a “Herd Fellow” scholarship to the 2018 Grassfed Exchange in Albany, NY. The Herd Fellows are young daughters, sons, interns and military veterans with an aspiration to become regenerative grassland farmers and ranchers. With the generous support of sponsors, 33 scholars are available to offer financial support to attend the conference. Apply today, application are accepted until April 1, 2018.

Heirloom Farm near Earlham, Iowa raises vegetables and herbs, meat chickens, and laying hens for eggs. They market their products directly to consumers and practice organic production, including using cover crops in our crop rotation. Heirloom Farm is seeking a Farm Crew Member. This is a Full-time position at 40 hours per week with pay rate starting at $9.00 per hour, depending on experience. Other benefits include fresh produce & eggs as available. Work Activities include any and all activities on a busy produce farm, including but not limited to: planting, transplanting, harvest, post-harvest handling, washing, lifting, moving, and storing plants and produce. Position starts approximately in May and runs through October. To apply and for more details contact: Matthew Wiese at
Come & Get It: What You Need to Know to Serve Food on Your Farm is available free from Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture. The 34-page publication provides a starter toolkit and roadmap for farmers interested in starting an on-farm venture that involves food service. The publication addresses the regulatory requirements for part-time, on-farm food service ventures, such as pizza farms and farm-to-table dinners.

The nonprofit organization Farm Commons has recently posted a series of eight free Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) publications on its website. They include Land Leasing for Your Sustainable Farm Enterprise, Managing Food Safety Liability Risks, Agritourism on Your Farm, When People Work on Your Farm, Building Good Contracts and Sales Agreements, Building the Right Business Structure for Your Farm, Purchasing Land for Your Farm Operation, and Adding Value to Your Farm Products.
Advanced Beginning Farmer Listening Sessions
Are you a beginning farmer who has been farming at least four years? If so, these listening sessions are for you!

Farmers like you are telling us they still have hurdles to overcome. New challenges of growing a business include securing more capital, land and even managing employees.

We want to help you overcome these barriers. Practical Farmers will host five listening sessions across the state to meet with beginning farmers facing issues of sustaining and growing their farm and profit margin.

These sessions are aimed at farmers with at least four years of farming experience. With the information we gather, we will organize opportunities to help you overcome your barriers and meet your farming goals.
Please join us at one of these sessions. Each session will be from 5:30-8:30 pm and includes supper.
March 20
Practical Farmers of Iowa (check out our new office!)
1615 Golden Aspen Dr. Ste 103, Ames, IA 50010
March 27
First Street Community Center
221 First Street NE, Mt. Vernon, IA, 52314
March 29
C.G. Therkildsen Activity Center
Free and open to all beginning farmers who have been farming on their own for at least four years. Supper will be provided.
Contact Greg Padget at
March 20 | 5:30 - 8:30 pm | Ames

March 27 | Noon - 3 p.m. | Oskaloosa

March 27 | 5:30 - 8:30 pm | Mt. Vernon

March 28 | Noon - 3 p.m. | Clarion

March 29 | 5:30 - 8:30 pm | Harlan

March 29 | Noon - 3 p.m. | Story City

April 3 | Noon - 3 p.m. | Jefferson

April 4 | Noon - 3 p.m. | Postville

April 4 | Noon - 3 p.m. | Atlantic
Labor4Learning helps beginning farmers get paid on-the-job training with experienced farmers, and pays experienced farmers for their time and effort.

Saving Incentive Program
Savings Incentive Program is a 2 - year program that pairs beginning and aspiring farmers with experienced farmer mentors; provides targeted learning and peer networking opportunities; offers business planning support and guidance. All this while you save money and then we match is dollar for dollar up to $2,400, to use toward the purchase of a farm asset. 

Find A Farmer
Find A Farmer allows for a comfortable place to start anonymous conversations with land-seekers or landowners. Search for users in a particular area that fit your specifications and begin the discussion.

Find A Farmer is FREE and available for anyone with internet access? No membership is required.
Looking for more? Contact us today!
Greg Padget
Next Generation Director
(515) 232-5661
Steve Carlson 
Next Generation Coordinator
(515) 232-5661