Labor4Learning Looking for Applicants; Beginning Farmers Earn Money, Gain Skills

Labor Program Connects Beginning Farmers With Experienced Iowa Farmers

Susan Payne
By  Susan Payne , DTN Social Media and Young Farmer Editor
Connect with Susan:
Labor4Learning participants earn income while working with experienced farmers. (Photo courtesy of Practical Farmers of Iowa)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Beginning farmers looking to gain hands-on skills and experience in farming can apply for paid on-farm jobs through the Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) Labor4Learning program.

PFI is a nonprofit with more than 8,000 members that equips farmers to build resilient farms and communities. In growing its network of beginning, young and experienced farmers, the nonprofit provides funding and technical assistance to help farmers adopt regenerative farming practices and grow farm businesses.

The Labor4Learning program offers training with experienced farmers across Iowa who are committed to mentoring the next generation. Nearly a dozen jobs are currently listed as open.

In addition to core tasks, experienced PFI farmers will provide extra training on topics such as record-keeping, marketing and other skills beginning and aspiring farmers might not otherwise gain elsewhere.

"Working with Donna Warhover at Morning Glory Farm fast-tracked my farming experience," Sara Ziehr stated in a press release.

Ziehr is a Labor4Learning trainee from West Branch, Iowa.

"I was able to observe a well-run farm with established procedures and got to be hands-on with a variety of tools and equipment. I also learned about different planting methods, integrated pest management and business management," Ziehr said.

While some on-farm jobs do not expose employees to the full range of responsibilities required to run a farm operation, Labor4Learning seeks to fill the gap by offering a well-rounded job experience.

"The Labor4Learning program is essential because it gives aspiring farmers the chance to try out different farming enterprises and styles before they make life-altering commitments to their own farm," stated Rachel Burke, PFI's beginning farmer engagement coordinator.

Each trainer farm in the program was approved by a committee of PFI members to serve as qualified teachers. Farms represent a diversity of enterprises and production practices, including row crops, multiple species of livestock, fruits and vegetables, flowers, cover crops, organic certification and more.

Farms in Decorah, Elkport, Central City, Ames, Mechanicsville, Boone, Slater and Mt. Vernon are currently hosting open positions. To view the detailed list of open positions, pay rates, duties and information about the farms, visit…

Applications require resumes and references submitted directly to the trainer farm. If hired, participants receive a PFI membership, opportunities to network with other beginning and aspiring farmers and discounts to PFI learning events.

For questions, contact Rachel Burke at 515-232-5661 or email

Susan Payne can be reached at

Follow her on X, formerly known as Twitter, @jpusan

Susan Payne

Susan Payne
Connect with Susan: