Rogue Farm Corps Internship Program Assists Beginning Farmers

Rogue Farm Corps Farms Next Internship Program assists beginning farmers by creating a structured program of work experience and training across a broad spectrum of small farms and ranches in our community. Interns participating in the Farms Next program live and work full time on a host farm for an entire growing season, receiving ongoing instruction, and learning in-depth skills unique to the host farmer’s operation.  Farms Next offers opportunities for work experience in: ·      Organic vegetable, herb, seed and flower production at various scales. ·      Marketing techniques, including direct marketing through farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s). ·      Raising livestock, including cattle, goats, bison, poultry, sheep, and pigs. ·      Dairy farming and cheese making with goats. Rogue Farm PictureThe work experience component is tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual host farm.  Host farmers are required to offer close supervision and mentoring to promote mastery of the basic skills needed to operate their farm.  Interns are exposed to all aspects of the farm operation and develop skills throughout the growing season. Rogue Farm Corps coordinates a 28-module training curriculum that offers instruction in skills and topics necessary for success as a small farmer.  These classes occur two to three times per month throughout the growing season and include a tour of each host farm.  Through this curriculum, interns are exposed to numerous farming operations and offered instruction in systems that may not be employed on their host farm.

The training curriculum includes the follow modules:  history of food and agriculture, goat husbandry/milking and processing, greenhouse 101, soil science, compost, weed management, direct seeding, transplanting, poultry management, entomology, plant pathogens, hedgerows, irrigation, water harvest, harvesting, post-harvest handling, food safety, tractor 101/tractor cultivation, grazing systems, conservation, crop rotation, cover crops, seed saving, biodynamics, GMO’s, winter farming, and food and farm advocacy. Upon completion of the work experience and training curriculum, interns are well placed to pursue employment on a small farm or further their farm education in other venues. In addition to the hands-on educational offerings, participants in the Farms Next program are offered a sense of community and social networking unavailable to many farm internship programs. The program runs from April/May through October.  Classes and tours typically run from three to five hours.  Tuition is $200.  Scholarships are available to qualified candidates.  Scholarship candidates should contact Stuart O’Neill at stu@roguefarmcorps.org. Rogue Farm Corps will assist in the recruitment and placement of interns on host farms.  Final hiring decisions are up to the individual farmers.  Details of work expectations, living situations, pay, and other issues are worked out between individual farmers and interns. You can expect to work hard and learn a lot.  Our community has a vast array of small farms, from market vegetable fields to grass fed livestock, seed growing to commercial dairying, poultry to CSA’s.  As a participant in Farms Next, you will be exposed to all of these diverse offerings in our community.

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