The California Farm Academy (CFA) Apprenticeship Program is a paid, two-year apprenticeship in sustainable commercial agriculture, focusing on specialty crops (row crops, vineyards, orchards) in the Northern Central Valley of California. The program is for individuals who are passionate about farming and are looking to further their career in agriculture. Apprentices will gain hands-on training, work experience, and exposure to some of the business side of farming with the goals of obtaining a management position on established farms, or eventually starting and sustaining their own small farm business. Completion of the program requires 3,000 hours of on-the-job training at a production farm in the greater Sacramento area and 250 hours of coursework. Our partner farms range from 50 to 10,000 acres, are located within a one-hour range of Sacramento, CA, and grow a diversity of crops from processing tomatoes and sunflowers for export to organic vegetables for CSA’s and farmers markets. The majority of our participating farmers are growing on over 500 acres, and have both conventional and organic parts of their operations.
Starting pay is $11 per hour and it will increase by $0.50 every six months. Some farms will have apprentices work overtime hours, which are paid at time and a half. The work season typically spans from March to November, plus or minus a month or two. Apprentices should not expect to be employed by the farm all 12 months of the year, but they will be eligible for unemployment.
All participants will complete a total of 250 coursework hours. In the first year of the program, participants will complete the 7-month CFA Beginning Farmer Training Program (200 classroom hours) at the Center for Land-Based Learning. In the second year, they will attend industry trainings and advanced courses or workshops to complete the remainder of the 250 coursework hours.
Please visit our website to learn more about the program:
Apprentices must complete required coursework and farming hours. They are expected to arrive early or on time for all coursework and on-the-job training.
Farming experience is not required for this position but is encouraged. Applicants must demonstrate awareness regarding the challenges of working agriculture, as well as demonstrate some deep thinking about personal motivation for pursuing a career in agriculture and their goals.
Apprentices must be over age 18, have a high school diploma or G.E.D. equivalent, have a valid U.S. Driver's License, and be eligible to work in the United States.
Applications should be submitted through our online application. Instructions can be found on our website: http://landbasedlearning.org/farm-academy-apprentice-apply. The application includes a resume and two references.
Applications will be accepted until January 25, 2018. Selected applications will be sent to host farms which will contact, interview, and select candidates. If selected, coursework begins mid-February, though on-the-job-training may not start until March depending on the farm.
For questions, please contact: