RFC’s Full-Season Internship Program is a spring through fall immersion for aspiring farmers who want to gain significant farming or ranching production experience and don’t have a lot of previous exposure. For those seeking an experience for just the summer months, a Summer Internship Program is in development for 2021. The Full-Season Internship Program is an entry/intermediate-level, immersive program that combines hands-on training with skills-based education. No experience is required to apply, however some host farms do prefer applicants have some previous farming or outdoor work experience. RFC recommends some previous outdoor work experience.
Full-time participants engage in a seasonal average of 30-36 hours per week of on-farm experience. Part-time participants engage in a seasonal average of 14-24 hours per week of on-farm experience. In addition to the on-farm training experience, participants engage in a series of farm tours, classes, and discussion circles focused on a broad array of sustainable agriculture and food system topics organized by Rogue Farm Corps. Participants also have an opportunity for an independent project if desired. Internship Program participants are exposed to the farm knowledge, networks, and expertise through engaging in the daily life of an agricultural community via their host farm.
To find out more about the programs, visit roguefarmcorps.org/training
COMMITMENT TO EQUITY AND INCLUSION
Rogue Farm Corps is committed to an ongoing learning process around privilege, power, inequality and systems of oppression. RFC is working to ensure that our programs are welcoming and accessible to communities who are under-represented as farm operators in Oregon, including women, Black, Indigenous and People of color (BIPOC), LGBTQIA+ individuals, low-income individuals and immigrants. Our desire to create a more equitable food system is reflected in RFC’s programs and collaborations.
The Internship is a hands-on learning experience. Internship Program participants train full-time or part-time at a mentor host farm or ranch, gaining 800-1,325 (350-800 for part-time) hours of on-farm experience and learning in-depth skills from your mentor. The majority of time is spent at the host farm learning by doing, while accomplishing daily farm/ranch tasks. Participants train alongside their farm mentor as well as work independently to develop skills while accomplishing day-to-day tasks that support the host farm throughout the season.
Rogue Farm Corps works with host farmers to create on-farm curricula unique to each host farm which represent the diversity of skills and concepts taught at that farm. This curriculum is used to guide and evaluate the on-farm learning experience. RFC staff Chapter Coordinators facilitate evaluations and skill assessments with participants and host farmers using this on-farm curriculum twice during the season to ensure that training goals are being met.
EDUCATIONAL EVENTS: CLASSES, FARM TOURS, AND DISCUSSIONS
To augment the training and experiences at the host farm, participants join other beginning farmers in their local RFC chapter region for an Educational Event Series facilitated by Rogue Farm Corps. Note that some events will be held online. You can find a sample class plan on our website at https://www.roguefarmcorps.org/internship-schedule. Program events typically occur 3-5 times each month.
The series includes:
15-20 classes focused on foundational sustainable agriculture concepts and knowledge and the food system.
10-13 farm tours which showcase practical skills and individual farmers’ stories, as well as provide insight into diverse production and marketing systems.
3-5 discussion circles with topics such as Farm and Food Advocacy, Food Justice / Food Sovereignty, and Next Steps for Beginning Farmers.
Each event begins with a land acknowledgment honoring the original stewards of the lands where we live, learn, and farm, and recognizing the complex history that brings us together. RFC works to apply a racial equity lens to all educational events. Classes, tours, and discussions are led by Rogue Farm Corps staff, agricultural professionals, and expert farmers.
Every participant will give an end-of-season presentation and submit a short report. This can be a summary of their experience, focus on a few aspects of their season, or be about a specific independent project they undertook. If the participant desires an independent project, they choose either a research project or from a list of physical projects prioritized by their host site.
Rogue Farm Corps staff will support program graduates with regular check-ins after graduation in order to help connect graduates with resources, create and update goals, and generally further graduates’ objectives as they continue along their farming trajectory.
START/END DATES, HOUSING, FOOD, & STIPENDS
On-Farm Positions typically begin between March 15 and April 15 and conclude typically between October 15 and October 31, with exact on-farm start and end dates to be determined with the host farm. Program events start in early-mid April and conclude mid-late October.
For full-time participants, host farms typically provide room, board, and $550-$750/month educational stipends. For part-time positions, room, board, and stipend packages vary from position to position and farm to farm. Peruse sample host farms and positions on our website at https://www.roguefarmcorps.org/farms.
To successfully complete the program, participants complete 800-1,325 (350-800 for part-time) hours of on-farm training time, submit regular reflective journal entries, attend all classes, farm tours, and discussions, with no more than three absences, participate in two on-farm evaluation sessions, give a final presentation and written report, and give feedback to RFC via a program exit evaluation.
TUITION & SCHOLARSHIPS, & PAYMENT DATES
The Internship Program has a tuition fee of $1,550 for full-time participants or $1,250 for part-time participants. Scholarships are available and you can find more information about them here (Scholarship Applications are due January 5, 2021).
Upon accepting a placement offer at a Host Farm, participants pay RFC a $250 non-refundable deposit toward their tuition. The standard payment plan for the rest of the tuition is:
April 15: $300
June 15: $500 (Full Time) / $350 (Part-Time)
August 15: $500 (Full-Time) / $350 ( Part-Time)
RFC can work with individual participants to set up alternative payment plans if requested in writing.
The tuition cost that participants pay helps to fund the educational event series, program outreach, developing materials, facilitating orientations and evaluations, administrative costs, and general support from the RFC staff Chapter Coordinator who is available throughout the program and beyond.
The Internship begins with an On-Farm Orientation with your RFC staff Chapter Coordinator at your host farm. From that official start date there is an initial 45-day trial period. During the trial period, participants and host farmers can terminate the relationship if it’s not a good fit. RFC tuition fees are refundable during the 45-day trial period, with the exception of the $250 non-refundable deposit. Once the trial period is successfully completed, the intern and host farmer are committed to the mentor/mentee relationship for the rest of the season, and the full amount of the tuition is required even if the internship is terminated for any reason later in the season.
No prior farming experience is necessary to participate in the Rogue Farm Corps Farm Internship program. Some physical work experience is a recommended.
Before you start your application, please make sure you have read through the program description for the program you are applying for on our website (https://www.roguefarmcorps.org/).
Priority Application Deadline = January 5, 2021. Applications that come in by this date will be released first to our host farmers and will thus have a better chance of securing a placement.
Applications are open and rolling from November 15 - March 1.
Scholarship Application Deadline = January 5, 2021. (Separate application required)
You will specify in the application which type(s) of agricultural production you’re interested in, as well as part-time and/or full-time position preferences and any geographic location requirements. Each host farm is unique. RFC and host farmers work to ensure a good fit during the application and interview process.
Once we receive your application, Rogue Farm Corps staff will set up a 15-20 minute intake phone call with you. RFC will then pass your application along to our network of host farmers (early applications before January 5 will be passed to host farmers after January 5th).
Host Farmers review applicants and set up interviews with candidates they are interested in. Interviews are between applicant and Host Farmer, and is a chance for both parties to get to know each other and see if it might be a good fit. After interviews, Host Farmers will make placement offers, at which point applicants can choose to accept or decline an offer. You may contact Rogue Farm Corps’ Education Director or Chapter Coordinators to discuss the status of your application at any time.
We ask that you respond promptly to any communication from a Host Farmer, including declining an interview or placement, as they are often considering several applicants at once. Once a placement has been accepted, RFC will confirm the agreement and on-farm start/end dates. RFC facilitates orientation processes once participants start their positions.
Complete 2021 participating Host Farms and positions will be available in early January 2021.