Hands-on learning is the best way to find out if you are suited to farm life. Students at UMass have the opportunity to spend a spring and summer working on an organic farm while earning credits towards their Bachelors degree through the Student Farming Enterprise (SFE) program.
“The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says labor costs can be up to 18% of production expenses. To improve profits, you need to be more efficient or you need to reduce your labor costs.” said Amanda Brown of the UMass Extension Vegetable Program. Interns and Apprentices may be cheaper, but you will spend more time training them and supervising beginners. You must determine if the reduced cost can be offset with more production overall. Brown shared her farm experience working with students while speaking at the Beginning Women Farmer Conference at UMass, Amherst, MA held on March 22 and 23, 2012. She distinguished between Interns and Apprentices and their appropriate compensation. [more]