Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Apprenticeship Program
The first registered apprenticeship for organic vegetable production in the country

Are you interested in learning the knowledge and skills you’ll need for a long-term career in organic vegetable production? Or are you a farmer hoping to invest in and cultivate long-term managers on your farm? 

 

The Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Apprenticeship Program provides hands-on, holistic training that benefits producers and apprentices alike. Through this two-year, competency-based program, apprentices work with experienced farmers to develop their skills and learn the ins-and-outs of what it takes to run a successful farm business--from seeding and transplanting to sales and marketing.

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What Does an Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Do?

 

  • Manage all aspects of vegetable production, from field to sale.

  • Maintain farm facilities, equipment, and tools. 

  • Keep production, employee, and financial records that inform future farm decisions. 

  • Evaluate and react to changing environmental and market conditions that impact the farm business--in conjunction with the farm owner. 

  • Supervise farm staff on production-related tasks and sales. 

  • New things every day!

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WHAT DOES THE PROGRAM LOOK LIKE? 

Apprentices work alongside experienced farmers during the growing season. A comprehensive Job Book details 13 on-the-job competencies that the apprentice will develop during their time in the program. During the off-season between the first and second year, apprentices take 3 structured courses through the Wisconsin Technical College System. These required courses cover concepts that are better suited to a classroom setting. Apprentices typically begin the program in early spring, and farmers train their apprentices in all aspects of organic vegetable production--providing insight and instruction on operating a viable farm business. 

 

GENERAL INTEREST SURVEY:

CONTACT INFORMATION

Sarah Janes Ugoretz, Apprenticeship Program Manager sarah@csacoalition.org

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 APPRENTICES 

 

“This program not only builds concrete skills, it also facilitates connections with other farms, apprentices, and ideas—all of which are healthy to the growth of small-scale agriculture.” - 2021 Program Graduate

WHAT MAKES THIS PROGRAM UNIQUE?

  • Hands-on training with an experienced farmer

  • A comprehensive job training manual created by successful vegetable growers

  • Off-season course instruction, including in farm business management and marketing 

  • An hourly wage during on-the-job and classroom training

  • Potential opportunities for equity building, post-graduation employment, and farm succession

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR AN APPRENTICE

  • 18 years of age

  • Valid government-issued ID

  • High school diploma, GED, or equivalent

  • Physically able to perform work with reasonable accommodation

WAGES AND ASSOCIATED COSTS

  • The apprentice is responsible for class tuition and required books, roughly $700

  • The farmer will pay the apprentice an hourly wage, averaging 32 hours per week during the growing season

 READY FOR THE NEXT STEP? CONTACT US!

Would you like more experience in organic production before applying to the program?

Check out our list of outside educational resources.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYMENT PLEDGE

As the apprenticeship sponsor, FairShare will not discriminate against apprenticeship applicants or apprentices on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity or pregnancy), sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, arrest of conviction record, membership in the armed forces, or because they are an individual with a disability or a person 40 years of age or older. 

 

FairShare will take affirmative action to provide equal opportunity in apprenticeship and will operate the apprenticeship program as required under 29 CFR part 30 and the equal employment opportunity rules of the state of Wisconsin. 

 

Learn more about your right to equal opportunity.

 
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 FARMER EDUCATORS 

“My goal in participating in this program is to show apprentices that farm manager is a real professional position and that you don’t have to own a farm to be an important and invested part of a farm.” - Stacey Botsford

Are you interested in training skilled employees and retaining them from year to year? Or maybe you’d like to explore farm succession opportunities with someone hoping to move into farm ownership further down the road. The Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Apprenticeship provides you with the materials and the support you need to develop competent employees on your farm.

BENEFITS FOR FARMER

EDUCATORS

  • Retain skilled employees, potentially including a skilled farm manager with in-depth knowledge of your operation

  • Build effective training strategies that apply to all of your employees

  • Access to a comprehensive job training manual created by experienced vegetable growers

  • Attract employees who are invested in learning 

  • Possible opportunities for shared decision-making on high-level farm functions like crop planning and employee supervision

  • Participate in a network of farmer educators who are interested in providing quality on-farm education

  • Access to a labor management training program?

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR FARMER EDUCATORS

  • Hold a valid, accredited organic certification

  • Be in business for at least 1 year

  • Be able to willing to train the apprentice in the required program competencies

  • Employ the apprentice for at least 32 hours per week during the growing season

COSTS AND APPRENTICE WAGES

  • The farmer educator must pay the apprentice an hourly wage averaging at least 60% of the farm’s trained Farm Manager rate over the full apprenticeship. 

  • The farmer educator must pay the hourly wage for the apprentice’s 144 classroom hours. 

  • The apprentice is responsible for class tuition and required books, roughly $700.

 READY FOR THE NEXT STEP? CONTACT US!