Job shadowing is spending time with an experienced person in a career field you are interested in learning more about. A job shadow is generally unpaid and takes place for less than 3 days. The goal is to learn more about a person’s job by observing their daily activities and job skills. Job shadowing can take place at any age or experience level, and may involve visiting and talking to many individuals in the same career field.
Students who are interested in learning more about a farm career should shadow farmers who are managing farm businesses in areas similar to the students’ primary interests.
You may find a farmer to job shadow by talking to neighbors, friends, teachers, or your local extension agent. Local organizations that cater to farmers such as feed mills, equipment sales businesses, or farmer’s markets may also be great locations to start searching for farmers to shadow.
When introducing yourself to a farmer you would like to shadow, be sure to explain your interest in farming as a career, especially the particular aspects of farming that interest you (like vegetable growing, livestock production, cheesemaking, etc…). It may take several calls or meetings to find a farmer who has the time to help you – be patient and consider each phone call or meeting an opportunity to learn more about farming in your community and different farm career paths.
A job shadowing opportunity is a great way to develop your knowledge of a farm career.
Ben Shute is co-owner and manager of Hearty Roots Community Farm in Red Hook, which is in its seventh season growing vegetables on 23 acres of rented land. Hearty Roots uses all organic practices, and sells most of its vegetables directly to families using the Community Supported Agriculture model. The farm grows about a hundred different varieties of vegetables, harvesting from May into December.
Hearty Roots Farm
Ben grew up in New York City and didn’t start farming until he was 21 years old. He learned his farming skills by working for other farmers in New England and Oregon, before moving to Red Hook in 2004 where Hearty Roots was founded. The farm started on small plot of land its first year, and everything was done with hand tools. Since then the farm has grown to over ten times its original size, and Hearty Roots is now composed of 9 young people working during the summer, along with lots of tractors and millions of plants.
Ben also serves on the town of Red Hook’s Economic Development Committee and Farmland Protection Committee, and is a founding board member of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition.
Good soil management is the basis for healthy, productive crops. Learn how soil texture, structure, biology and nutrient availability affect plant growth. You will leave this class with a plan to manage your soils next year.
Learn how soils work.
Gain soil test interpretation skills.
…Learn management practices to address issues identified in your soil test and build soil health.
Who should attend?
Farmers who wish to delve into the relationship between soil properties and crop productivity.
Farmers who wish to develop a plan to optimize their soil management.
What to expect:
In-depth information on how soil texture, biology and nutrient availability affect growth and productivity of your crops.
An overview of options you can use on your farm to increase soil health and plant productivity.
Nine hours of instruction.
Hands-on lab work demonstrating how soil properties function.
A free soil test—if you register by 1/30/11.
A soils notebook and resource CD.
Flier available at http://extension.psu.edu/start-farming/courses/introduction-to-soils