Should you hire an Intern or Apprentice?

Amanda Brown of the UMass Extension Vegetable Program

Amanda Brown, UMass Extension Vegetable Program

A summer internship or apprenticeship is a great way to become a better farmer and to verify that farming life suits you. Students at many colleges spend a season or more working on a farm while earning college credits.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says farm labor costs can be as high as 18% of production expenses. For greater profits, farmers need to increase efficiency or reduce costs including labor costs. Apprentices may be cheaper than skilled farm labor, but farmers will spend more time training and supervising beginners. Farmers should weigh the reduced costs against potential production increases. Amanda Brown of the UMass Extension Vegetable Program, shared her experience working with student farmers. She distinguished between Interns and Apprentices and their appropriate compensation.

Legal definitions

Brown offered legal definitions of Interns and Apprentices. She urged growers to check with state Labor Departments for local regulations before seeking certain types of farm labor.

[Read more here.]

[RI Department of Labor publication on Paying Interns here.]

[Find Internship opportunities here.]

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