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.

Ben Shute
Hearty Roots Farm
Tivoli, NY

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.

Living On A Few Acres is an introduction to small-scale agricultural production for those considering starting an agricultural business or learning how to grow more of their own. A team of Extension educators provide instruction in fruit, vegetable and meat production using organic and integrated pest management practices, as well as instruction in soil management and marketing.

This is course is an introduction to basic produc…tion techniques on a wide variety of topics from pasture management and beef production to vegetables and organics. As you consider your options for a new farm business, learn what is involved and the resources available to help.

What to expect:

An overview of basic production topics

An introduction to the resources and support available for new producers

Instruction from Penn State Extension experts

Who should attend:

The “Living on a Few Acres” program in Northampton County is designed to provide individuals interested in starting or improving upon existing small-scale agricultural operations.
Whether your intent is to produce food for your family or to generate income from your property, this series of seminars has something to offer.

Contact Name Alison Grantham
Contact Phone (610) 746-1970

To register, download and return the Course Brochure and Registration Form.

A course for individuals who want to transition a portion of, or all of their dairy or livestock farm to a management-intensive grazing operation

Who Should Attend:

Dairy and livestock producers who are considering or developing a grazing system.

Course Objective:

To promote pasture management as a tool for achieving high forage quality and yields, and profitable milk and animal production.
Course Schedule:

All classes run from 7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. on Tuesdays.

Class 1 – February 22

Introduction and Basics of Grazing
Resource Evaluation and Economics
Paddocks, Fencing, Water
Personal Farm Plan
Class 2 – March 1

Converting Cropland/Pasture Improvement
Characteristics of Species— Annuals/Perennials
Personal Farm Plan
Class 3 – March 8

Pasture Management and Length of Stay
Dealing With Surplus and Shortage; Supplemental Feeding
Forage Quality and Dry Matter Intake
Personal Farm Plan
Questions and Answers

Contact Name Mena Hautau
Contact Phone (610) 378-1327

To register, download and return the registration form: Grazing School Brochure and Registration Form.

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