rfc's advanced apprenticeship program

Are you ready to take your education and training to the next level and kick start your farming career? RFC's Apprenticeship Program is the next step towards learning to manage and run a diversified farming operation.

The Apprenticeship Program is an advanced on-farm program combining hands-on training and skills-based education for those seeking mastery in the art and business of sustainable agriculture.

This full-immersion program is designed for those who have completed RFC's Internship Program, or similar program, or have two years of farming experience. You will live and train full-time on a host farm, receive up to two seasons of on-farm training, and learn in-depth skills from your mentor farmer.

Commitment to Equity and Inclusion

Rogue Farm Corps is committed to an ongoing learning process around privilege, power, inequality and systems of oppression. RFC has a goal of making our programs welcoming to, inclusive of, and accessible to communities who are under-represented as farm operators in Oregon, including women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, low-income individuals and immigrants. Our desire to create a more equitable food system is reflected in RFC’s programs and collaborations.

On-farm training and hands-on learning (~40+ hours/week)

RFC's Apprenticeship Program is designed for the individual who already has a solid foundation of farm knowledge and skills but is looking to deepen their managerial experience with the goal of managing or owning a farm enterprise in the future. The majority of the program will be focused on learning by doing.

Over time, you will be expected to share responsibilities with the farmers. These tasks will generally include overseeing farm crews and harvest crews, processing, tractor cultivation, field walks and observation, record keeping, product deliveries, marketing, irrigation, and general farm maintenance.

INDEPENDENT PROJECTS (~1-2 HOURS PER WEEK)

During the course of the farming season, every apprentice will complete an independent project, submit a report and make a short presentation at the end-of-season Closing Dinner. Examples of previous independent projects include managing a new farmers’ market once a week, leading school groups on farm tours, independently raising a seed crop for contract, starting and running a cut flower CSA, and learning how to manage a beehive.

Classes and seminars

In addition to the hands-on training provided by the host farm, apprentices will attend a series of classes and weekend intensives facilitated by RFC, Oregon State University Extension's Small Farms Program, and other agricultural service agencies. The four weekend intensives rotate among chapter locations so that apprentices have an opportunity to host each other and experience other growing regions. Each chapter will also receive 2-4 classes and other local events. The rotating two-year curriculum focuses on advanced farming techniques and business planning and management.

Topics alternate every other year, and may include:

YEAR ONE:

  • Farm and Production Planning: Crop Plan, Tillage Plan, Seeding Plan, Cover Cropping

  • Pest & Disease Management: IPM, Farmscaping, Organic Treatment Methods

  • Seed Production, Variety Selection, Stewardship

  • Conservation/ Restorative Agriculture: No Till, Hedgerows, Restoration Techniques, Dryland Farming

  • Food Safety & Post-harvest Handling

  • Irrigation Methods + System Design + Repairs

  • Soil Health Management: Fertility + Nutrient Management Plan, Soil Science, Soil Test Interpretation

  • Tractors and Equipment: Implements, Maintenance + Repair

  • Animal Systems and/ or Perennial Systems, Pastures, Integrating Veg/Animal, Holistic Management

  • Farm Carpentry and Building Infrastructure

YEAR TWO:

  • Managing People on the Farm, Labor Costs, Communication Systems

  • Scaling Up + Exploring Distribution Channels

  • Marketing: Market Research/ Assessment & Niche Selection

  • Certification Programs + Record keeping

  • Overview of Farm Business Planning, Visioning, Legal + Business Structure Considerations

  • Enterprise Selection & Diversification, Evaluating and Improving Profitability

  • Farm Finances- Financial Preparedness, Bookkeeping, Creative Financing & Funding Panel

  • Accessing Land- Leasing Land, Purchasing Land, Working with Land Trusts & Conservation Easements, Oregon FarmLink, Networking Opportunities, Accessing Service Providers

One-on-One Farm Development Counseling

Rogue Farm Corps staff will work closely with you to identify additional course work and resources to support your entrepreneurial development.

Peer-to-peer networking

You will have the opportunity to meet and network with local farmers and agricultural professionals in the community you are working in. Rogue Farm Corps will organize farm tours and will host potluck discussion circles to bring together folks from across the farming community.

Program Details

The Apprenticeship Program will run for up to two full farming seasons. You will complete up to 3,000 hours of on-farm time over the course of two seasons. Room, board, and stipend packages vary from farm to farm. In any case, you can expect safe, secure housing, farm produced food and some staples, and a monthly stipend in the range of $700-1000 or an hourly wage.

Tuition

The Apprenticeship Program tuition fee is $400 annually. Tuition covers the costs of your classroom curriculum.

Student apprentice Handbook

Before you start your application, please read the Student Apprentice Handbook. Here you will find a complete program description, including all requirements, policies, and expectations.

Application Process

After you’ve read through the Student Apprentice Handbook, click on the apply link at the top of the page to be sent to our application form.

Once we receive your application, Rogue Farm Corps staff will either call or email you to complete your intake interview. If your application is approved, our network of host farmers will review all program applications and set up interviews with candidates they are interested in. You may contact Rogue Farm Corps’ Education Director or Chapter Coordinators to discuss the status of your application. Each host farmer will make the final placement decisions for their farm.