Recommendations for Farm Workers/Apprentices

Recommendations for Farm Workers/Apprentices

NOFA Vermont believes that working on an organic farm is a valuable and rewarding form of education. It is our goal to provide this alternative educational experience to as many people as possible in order to stimulate a renewed interest in organic agriculture.

1. Farmers and workers, who have participated in NOFA-VT’s Farm Worker/Apprentice Program in the past, strongly recommend the following for a successful apprenticeship:
• Prospective worker should visit the farm prior to making the commitment to work.
• Worker and farmer should discuss the difference between apprentice and worker.
• Farmer and worker should clearly spell out their mutual expectations. It is recommended that a simple, written agreement be drawn up during the preliminary visit.
• Worker and farmer should have frequent and frank discussions during the work stay on the extent to which expectations are being met. The success of the work-stay is the responsibility of both farmer and apprentice/worker.

2. When crafting a written work agreement, consider the following guidelines:
• Hours and days off
• Duration of the job
• Stipend, if any
• Living arrangements, room & board, chores around the house
• Nature of the work
• Policy on use and care of farm property, animals, land, and equipment
• Safety of the work conditions, liability insurance, and compensation for injury
• Time off or paid time to attend NOFA Vermont Workshops.

3. We recommend that you also consider the following:
• As a farm worker/apprentice, you may experience a living and working environment very different than the one you are accustomed to – farm life can be hard and isolating. Be sure that you are prepared for the situation you enter.
• As an apprentice, you should establish a privacy policy with your farm host. Be sure to establish a visitor’s policy or clearly stated time off policies.