interns

randy41_1December 14, 2013

anyone have any experience or thoughts on this? it looks like i'll be working alone for the most part unless i get one. i have an extra room in my house to board one and i'll pay a small stipend. i've had people working here before and if i pay a living wage to someone full or almost full time there's not much left for me. the intern would have to also go to one of the markets.

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myfamilysfarm

A living wage doesn't work out to being able to turn a profit with the prices that we can get. Sorry I don't have any experience with interns. I wasn't able to find anyone, outside of family (adult kids and younger) to help us.

When we offered $10 per hour for part-time, as need, nobody was interested. Minimum wage here is only $7.25.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 7:22PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

I was an intern/apprentice 18 years ago on a farm and i've also worked on farms that had interns. This coming season i'm looking to bring in one or two, so I think we're in a similar situation Randy.
Let me know what kind of info you want to know and i'll do my best to help out.
-Mark

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 8:12PM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

I generally don't pay interns as they are usually working for an education. But when you don't pay $10 an hour (about 3x more than either my husband or I make an hour with 20 years exp) they tend to not show up. But if I pay them a living wage ($10 an hour) than the farm goes into debt. Especially considering most people who come to work for us are not worth $2 ah hour for several months as they are slow, don't know what to do and make mistakes that sometimes cost us a lot of money.

There are now colleges that charge kids $10K a semester to learn to farm and I am leaning that way. Why not charge folks to come and work on the farm and learn a bunch of skills?

The best apprentices I have ever had were college kids working for credit hours (and it looks like we may get one this spring as a friend of mine who teaches at a local university asked if I would be interested) They show up and do a lot of work, especially if you mention you are good friends with their professor.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 4:18AM
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randy41_1

i had a couple of volunteer students working here a couple of years ago and they'd get a bag of veggies and some gas money. i live way out in the sticks. one of them was outstanding and the other was not so good. i ended up feeling uncomfortable with not paying them.
i'm thinking of advertising on the attra website for one.
anyway, i'll continue to post about the experience to get all of your valuable comments. nice to have people with experience to bounce stuff off of.
i envy you marla for having family that shares the interest. my kids all moved to big cities as soon as they could.

Here is a link that might be useful: intern listings

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 5:28AM
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myfamilysfarm

The family doesn't really share the interest, more like, it's helping mom and dad. I have a son that is really good with sales, but not so much farm work. Another son that you couldn't get to deal with customers unless it was the last straw, he's great with planting and figuring out how to 'create' things. The last son is a computer savvy person, he does the research for anything new.

All the grandkids, except oldest one, like to play in dirt and with plants. Youngest have been transplanting true leave starts from age of 3. Younger than that, she was pulling weeds (or plants). they are LOVE the farm and understand that if we don't do something for the market, we can pay to stay on the farm (property taxes). They have a hard time with a 'farmer' taking over part of their fields.

Both of us come from long-time farmers, since before our ancestors came to America. My grandmother used to say, 'it's in our blood'.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 10:41AM
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myfamilysfarm

Check with the agriculture department of any college, the students are required to have a work-study amount. You get to grade them, and if they think you may not give them a good grade, they will fail those credit hours and have to do them again.

Our vocational school were eager to find anyone to 'hire' these people. The students know that they may not be paid, they are paying the school for those classes.

These students are looking NOW for summer, contact the school asap.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 10:44AM
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randy41_1

the problem with students is they don't finish classes until may and i live almost an hour from any university around here. i need someone from mid-late march until mid-october. i think there's a lot of unemployed college grads who would like a free place to live. i just have to weed out the lazy ones.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 11:31AM
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myfamilysfarm

With my classes, they could work ahead of time on the work study program. I had one of the instructors that was over that and I asked her the exact question about working early.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 12:51PM
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randy41_1

here's my listing for an intern.

Here is a link that might be useful: intern ad

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 6:30AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

Nice job Randy. Looks great. I hope you have luck weeding out the bad ones.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 11:29AM
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randy41_1

thanks mark. i hope i get previous job references with honest responses. i think i'll also get the word out to horticulture students at va tech. good idea marla. sometimes students have classes only one or two days a week. a free place to live might work out for one of them.it's a bit of a drive though.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 2:38PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

This topic has made me think, I don't really need much work at home on the farm, the kids help out without any real issues. My biggest problem is selling. I could really use a helper at the markets. Yes I sometimes do take the kids with me, but many times I don't.

Do you think I could find a person to help set up my booth, with me, and then help sell(restock) for the the first hour or two then I would just trade them produce for their time? IF I found the right person, do you think this could work?

Any thoughts?

Jay

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 2:24AM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

Jay, ask some of your customers if they would be interested. I have friends who have been hired by market farms to sell for 2 to 3 hours at the farmers market and the LOVE it. Women in early retirement years seem to be the best at this.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 4:43AM
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randy41_1

and they would probably work just for some produce.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 4:50AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I have several really good customers who would probably be very interested. That is what I had in mind at least. I will probably have to look into this more.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 6:50AM
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myfamilysfarm

Jay, that could work for either an ag degree or marketing degree. I know one vendor that has some people show up early and then other people show up at the last to help her pack up. IMO she brings WAY too much display wise, and it takes her almost 2 hrs to tear down.

We've had some homeless/displaced people offer to help, we didn't need it, but others accepted their help. All they wanted was some fruit or some other food that didn't need cooking. And some just wanted the feeling of being needed.

Marla

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 8:23AM
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