are you a good fit?

 

This page is provided to help you decide if you are a good fit for on-farm mentoring and hosting students

Farm Mentors have some essential aims and values:

  • They encourage respect for what it takes to make farming a career

  • They encourage respect for nature

  • They model and teach others to work hard and effectively

  • They model and teach others the principles of stewardship and cooperation

  • They convey a sense of process (both natural and economic)

  • They work to develop mentoring relationships based on mutual trust and respect, with clearly defined boundaries

  • They nurture trainee self-development

  • They respect and exemplify the mentoring tradition

  • They honestly convey the realities (both satisfactions and frustrations) of small-scale, “sustainable” farming as a vocation or career

Ask yourself these questions to help you determine if you’re a good fit: 

  • What are your long-term goals (think: “mission statement”) of your agricultural operation?

  • How might adding an internship/apprenticeship program to your farm help fulfill your farm’s mission?

  • Who were the teachers or mentors in your life that helped you? What did you appreciate about their mentoring style?

  • What prior experience do you have with educating/mentoring? 

  • What skills and personal qualities do you have that you think will serve you as a mentor? 

  • How might you make room for a new person to learn and participate in the critical operations on your farm or ranch? 

  • Given that mentor/mentee relationships are mutual learning opportunities, what are you excited to learn and what are you excited to teach? 

  • Are you set up to host interns/apprentices (Do you have appropriate resources on-hand for housing interns/apprentices (i.e. telephone/internet connection, laundry/kitchen/bathroom facilities, etc)? 

  • How much time/energy/patience do you realistically have? 

  • In what ways are you interested in adapting your schedule, operation and daily routine to include an intern/apprentice? How comfortable are you with accepting critique, criticisms or suggestions from an intern/apprentice? 

  • How might you check in with the intern/apprentice to assess if their learning is progressing or has halted? 

  • Can you serve as an advisor/mediator as well as educator? 

  • What makes you a good farmer/rancher? 

  • Do you have the experience and expertise to truly provide a valuable education to an intern/apprentice? 

  • What impact will having an intern/apprentice have on your personal and family situation?

  • How might you motivate an intern in the middle of a challenging farming season?

  • Are you open to the potential opportunities that might come as a result of working with someone who might be very different from you?