Beginning Farm Internships with Rogue Farm Corps


Company: Rogue Farm Corps
Location: three chapters around the state of Oregon
Compensation: Stipend, details to be discussed during interview process
Employment Type: Full-Time, Internship / Apprentice, Part-Time
Job Categories: Agriculture, Education, Nonprofit
Region: Central, Portland Area, Southern
Date Posted: November 17, 2020

How to Apply

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RFC’s Full-Season Internship Program is a spring through fall immersion for aspiring farmers who want to gain significant farming or ranching production experience and don’t have a lot of previous exposure. For those seeking an experience for just the summer months, a Summer Internship Program is in development for 2021. The Full-Season Internship Program is an entry/intermediate-level, immersive program that combines hands-on training with skills-based education. No experience is required to apply, however some host farms do prefer applicants have some previous farming or outdoor work experience. RFC recommends some previous outdoor work experience.

Full-time participants engage in a seasonal average of 30-36 hours per week of on-farm experience. Part-time participants engage in a seasonal average of 14-24 hours per week of on-farm experience. In addition to the on-farm training experience, participants engage in a series of farm tours, classes, and discussion circles focused on a broad array of sustainable agriculture and food system topics organized by Rogue Farm Corps (see a sample Internship Program events schedule here). Participants also have an opportunity for an independent project if desired. Internship Program participants are exposed to the farm knowledge, networks, and expertise through engaging in the daily life of an agricultural community via their host farm.

To see an overview of all our farmer training programs, see our Programs At A Glance page.

COMMITMENT TO EQUITY AND INCLUSION

Rogue Farm Corps is committed to an ongoing learning process around privilege, power, inequality and systems of oppression. RFC is working to ensure that our programs are welcoming and accessible to communities who are under-represented as farm operators in Oregon, including women, Black, Indigenous and People of color (BIPOC), LGBTQIA+ individuals, low-income individuals and immigrants. Our desire to create a more equitable food system is reflected in RFC’s programs and collaborations.You can read our Equity Statement here.

ON-FARM TRAINING

The Internship is a hands-on learning experience. Internship Program participants train full-time or part-time at a mentor host farm or ranch, gaining 800-1,325 (350-800 for part-time) hours of on-farm experience and learning in-depth skills from your mentor. The majority of time is spent at the host farm learning by doing, while accomplishing daily farm/ranch tasks. Participants train alongside their farm mentor as well as work independently to develop skills while accomplishing day-to-day tasks that support the host farm throughout the season.

Rogue Farm Corps works with host farmers to create on-farm curricula unique to each host farm which represent the diversity of skills and concepts taught at that farm.. This curriculum is used to guide and evaluate the on-farm learning experience. RFC staff Chapter Coordinators facilitate evaluations and skill assessments with participants and host farmers using this on-farm curriculum twice during the season to ensure that training goals are being met.

EDUCATIONAL EVENTS: CLASSES, FARM TOURS, AND DISCUSSIONS

To augment the training and experiences at the host farm, participants join other beginning farmers in their local RFC chapter region for an Educational Event Series facilitated by Rogue Farm Corps. Note that some events will be held online. An example event schedule can be found here. Program events typically occur 3-5 times each month.

The series includes:

  • 15-20 classes focused on foundational sustainable agriculture concepts and knowledge and the food system.
  • 10-13 farm tours which showcase practical skills and individual farmers’ stories, as well as provide insight into diverse production and marketing systems.
  • 3-5 discussion circles with topics including Farm and Food Advocacy, Food Justice / Food Sovereignty, and Next Steps for Beginning Farmers.

Each event begins with a land acknowledgment honoring the original stewards of the lands where we live, learn, and farm, and recognizing the complex history that brings us together. RFC works to apply a racial equity lens to all educational events. Classes, tours, and discussions are led by Rogue Farm Corps staff, agricultural professionals, and expert farmers.

END-OF-SEASON PRESENTATIONS

Every participant will give an end-of-season presentation and submit a short report. This can be a summary of their experience, focus on a few aspects of their season, or be about a specific independent project they undertook. If the participant desires an independent project, they choose either a research project or from a list of physical projects prioritized by their host site.

ALUMNI SUPPORT

Rogue Farm Corps staff will support program graduates with regular check-ins after graduation in order to help connect graduates with resources, create and update goals, and generally further graduates’ objectives as they continue along their farming trajectory.

START/END DATES, HOUSING, FOOD, & STIPENDS

On-Farm Positions typically begin between March 15 and April 15 and conclude typically between October 15 and October 31, with exact on-farm start and end dates to be determined with the host farm. Program events start in early-mid April and conclude mid-late October.

For full-time participants, host farms typically provide room, board, and $550-$750/month educational stipends. For part-time positions, room, board, and stipend packages vary from position to position and farm to farm. Peruse sample host farms and positions here.

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

To successfully complete the program, participants complete 800-1,325 (350-800 for part-time) hours of on-farm training time, submit regular reflective journal entries, attend all classes, farm tours, and discussions, with no more than three absences, participate in two on-farm evaluation sessions, give a final presentation and written report, and give feedback to RFC via a program exit evaluation.

TUITION & SCHOLARSHIPS, & PAYMENT DATES

The Internship Program has a tuition fee of $1,550 for full-time participants or $1,250 for part-time participants. Scholarships are available and you can find more information about them here (Scholarship Applications are due January 5, 2021).

Upon accepting a placement offer at a Host Farm, participants pay RFC a $250 non-refundable deposit toward their tuition. The standard payment plan for the rest of the tuition is:

  • April 15: $300
  • June 15: $500 (Full Time) / $350 (Part-Time)
  • August 15: $500 (Full-Time) / $350 ( Part-Time)

RFC can work with individual participants to set up alternative payment plans if requested in writing.

The tuition cost that participants pay helps to fund the educational event series, program outreach, developing materials, facilitating orientations and evaluations, administrative costs, and general support from the RFC staff Chapter Coordinator who is available throughout the program and beyond.

TRIAL PERIOD

The Internship begins with an On-Farm Orientation with your RFC staff Chapter Coordinator at your host farm. From that official start date there is an initial 45-day trial period. During the trial period, participants and host farmers can terminate the relationship if it’s not a good fit. RFC tuition fees are refundable during the 45-day trial period, with the exception of the $250 non-refundable deposit. Once the trial period is successfully completed, the intern and host farmer are committed to the mentor/mentee relationship for the rest of the season, and the full amount of the tuition is required even if the internship is terminated for any reason later in the season.

INTERN HANDBOOK

Before you start your application, please read the Intern Handbook. Here you will find a complete program description, including all requirements, policies, and expectations. You’ll be provided with a printed copy of this handbook upon acceptance into the program.