AgALN Webinars

Our webinar series brings together experts in the field to share their knowledge and experience with ag apprenticeship projects across the country…

Upcoming Webinars

Participate in Quivira Coalition's Mentor Training Series - October 2020 - April 2021!

Considering mentoring apprentices or interns on your ranch or farm? Want to improve apprentice recruitment, selection, training, education/work balance work and feedback? Join Quivira Coalition's exeperienced New Agrarian Program for their free 7-session mentor training series. Hosted with seasoned mentors from the Quivira Coalition New Agrarian Program. Readings and templates are provided.  All calls are held by Zoom at 12 pm Mountain Time.  Learn more and register here.

#1 Recruiting the Apprentice You Want: (Oct 20th, 12pm MT) How do you write an apprenticeship description that is both appealing and realistic about the ups and downs of ranching and farming? Discuss what issues to address in the description, what to ask in the application, and where mentors have successfully recruited great apprentices.

#2 Evaluating Written Applications (Nov 10th, 12pm MT How do you sort through written applications? We will share strategies for tackling the pile of applications, and templates for responses to applicants who you would like to interview and those you will decline.

#3 Effective Interviews (Dec 1st, 12pm MT)  During an interview, what questions will reveal the skill level, motivation and personality of an applicant? What questions can’t be asked, for legal reasons? How do you find out what you most need to know? And how do you evaluate interviewees? We’ll discuss both phone/video and on-site interviews, as we find that having finalists come to see your operation is key to finding the best fit. Experienced mentors will discuss how they structure a working interview.

#4 Fairness and Nondiscrimination in Hiring (Dec 8th, 12pm MT) What can you do to ensure that your hiring process is safe, fair, and equitable for all applicants? What are the things that you must do (or avoid) in order to ensure that you’re not inadvertently discriminating in your hiring?

#5 Setting Expectations (Jan 19th, 12pm MT)  You’ve chosen your apprentice and are preparing for their arrival. Writing an apprenticeship agreement, creating a skills list, and setting clear boundaries at the beginning can support a successful apprenticeship.

#6 Balancing Work and Education (Feb 9th, 12pm MT)  How do you structure the workday, week, and month so that work is done and education happens?  Mentors share strategies including weekly planning meetings, how to find those ‘teachable moments’ during a workday, and ways to do up-front training to get your apprentice going and maintain focus, communication and motivation in the busy season.

#7 Mentoring to create a Self-Starter Apprentice (Mar 2nd, 12pm MT) A great mentor-apprentice experience depends on both parties co-creating relevant goals that take advantage of the built-in learning at your operation, and identify ways your apprentice can engage in solo study, find local resource people to learn from, and visit other operations. Skill sheets are great prompts for this so we’ll discuss ways to make them truly effective and useful to you and your apprentice.

#8 Feedback (Apr 20th, 12pm MT) Giving and receiving feedback is one of the most fraught challenges of being a mentor. We offer a variety of tried and true methods and tips to generate objective, honest, and open conversations in scheduled and impromptu feedback sessions.

Register online to receive the Zoom link in advance or by phone at 505-820-2544. Recordings from the 2019-2020 mentor calls are also posted to Quivira's website.

Past Webinars

Check out webinars recorded by our partners on topics related to hosting apprentices on your farm!

AgALN Webinar 10.29.19  Supporting Beginning Farmer Learning
Presenters:  Julie Sullivan, rancher and Quivira Coalition and Laura Paine, Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship

In this webinar, apprenticeship host farms will learn about beginning farmer learning stages to support the growth of new farmers and how to encourage independent learners. Presenters offer lessons on farm-based experiential learning and how to encourage apprenticeships to take leadership in their learning trajectory. Presenters introduced different types of learning and lead an interactive discussion on how these styles can help guide a host farmers interactions with their apprentice for optimal learning. Hosted by New Entry Sustainable Farming Project.


AgALN Webinar 10.15.19  Communication Styles for Positive Farm Apprenticeships
Presenter:  Polly Shyka, Villageside Farm, Freedom, Maine. 

In this webinar, apprenticeship host farms will learn crucial communication skills to aid in smooth apprenticeship relationships. Some of the tools shared will include how to resolve conflict, communicate expectations, and structure in-season check-ins. In collaboration with AgALN and New Entry, this webinar was hosted and facilitated by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association who has been running a statewide apprenticeship program for 45 years. Polly Shyka, from Villageside Farm in Freedom, Maine, presents on her experience hosting apprentices for the past 12 years and prioritizing clear, nonviolent communication.  Here is a link to download slides from the presentation.


AgALN Webinar 6.19.2018: Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship webinar

Presenter: Laura Paine, Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA)

Join Laura Paine from Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) to hear about DGA’s work on understanding and working with adult learners in an agricultural setting. DGA is a federally registered apprenticeship program with 150 approved farms across 11 states providing on-farm mentorship. Laura will share materials that DGA has been working on for professional development of ag apprenticeship masters/mentors.


AgALN Webinar 5.31.2018: Employment Law for the Farm: Q & A Webinar

Presenter: Beth O’Neal, Conn Kavanaugh

Please join New Entry Sustainable Food Project and the Legal Food Hub for Employment Law for the Farm: Q & A Webinar. As the farming season begins, do you have last minute questions about the legal implications of your farm apprentice program? Do you have questions about the agricultural exemption from minimum wage? Wondering whether you need to worry about overtime or what records you need to keep about your farm employees this summer? Join our webinar to ask your employment law questions to a leading expert in Massachusetts. Beth O’Neal, an employment law attorney and partner at Conn Kavanaugh in Boston, will answer your questions.


AgALN Webinar 5.11.2018: A Conversation with Lowcountry Local First and the Responsive Evolution of an Incubator and Apprenticeship Program

Presenter: Brian Wheat, Lowcountry Local First

Join us for a conversation with Brian Wheat from Lowcountry Local First ( Their Good Farming initiative supports sustainable agriculture and is designed to grow and connect the local food system by training new farmers, supporting existing farm businesses and educating consumers. Additionally, they provide consulting services for private companies, municipal government, and anchor institutions to cultivate local farms and fill gaps in economic development activities. Lowcountry Local First has transitioned their farmer training program from an incubator farm model to an apprenticeship model that incorporates apprenticeships with local food businesses as well as farms, providing pathways to careers in food throughout the value chain. Learn about this transformation and participate in the discussion to see how their transition and lessons learned might be applicable to your farmer training program.


AgALN Webinar 4.10.2018: Creating A Mutually Rewarding Apprenticeship Experience: Understanding New Farmer Typologies and Skill Aquisition

Presenters: Abby Sadauckas is a farmer and  the project manager for the grant.

                   Leslie Forstadt is Human Development Specialist at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

You may have found yourself asking: “Why is it so hard to manage the people on my farm?” or “Why do apprentices take so much time?” or “How can I be a better mentor?” or “What’s the best approach for curriculum design for apprenticeship programs?” 

In this webinar, the presenters will introduce two curriculum tools, the New England Small Farm Institute’s DACUM and the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition. Using these tools as a starting place, Abby and Leslie will discuss how key interpersonal skills can make or break the success of your apprenticeship program. The presentation will provide professional development for mentor farmers to better understand how skills are built and how to have positive working relationships and decrease conflict on the farm. Using real-life examples to explain these concepts, Abby and Leslie will create and engaging conversation that’s emerged from their NESARE grant: Supporting Relationships for Farm Success.


AgALN Webinar 3.14.2018: Ag Employment Law and Your Farm

Presenter: Beth O’Neal, Conn Kavanaugh

Webinar presented by Beth O’Neal, an employment law attorney and partner at Conn Kavanaugh in Boston.

AgALN Webinar 3.6.2018: The Power of Networks & the Ag Apprenticeship Network Toolkit 

Presenters: Andrew Crosson of Rural Support Partners; Brianna Bowman of New Entry Sustainable Farming Project

Network Resources and Approaches, an online event which will launch the Ag Apprenticeship Toolkit and offer a briefing on the power of networks by Andrew Crosson of Rural Support Partners. This event will include a tour of the Ag Apprenticeship Toolkit, the capstone resource from Year 1 of the National Ag Apprenticeship Learning Network, and will detail how participation in networks can strengthen local, regional and national food systems work.

The Ag Apprenticeship Toolkit is a practical guide for developing or improving an ag apprenticeship program, and represents a collection of best practices and recommendations from experts in the field of agricultural training, including Quivira Coalition, Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, Rogue Farm Corps, Vilicus Farms and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. The toolkit covers topics ranging from developing applications to your program and managing the interview process, to determining compensation and providing feedback.

AgALN Webinar 1.17.2018: Agriculture Apprenticeships: Resources for Best Practices

SAEA webinar. Presented by Lorien E. MacAuley, PhD, of Virginia Tech; and Megan Fehrman, of Rogue Farm Corps

Apprenticeships on small, sustainability farms are an important strategy for beginning farmer training, and farmers often find it a fulfilling way to meet labor needs on the farm. They are also a space where apprentices and farmers alike are critically engaged in transforming the agrifood system as part of the alternative agrifood movement.

In this presentation, Megan Fehrman, of Rogue Farm Corps, will introduce the National Ag Apprenticeship Learning Network. This network works to support ag apprenticeship programs by sharing best practices, knowledge and resources, coordinating local and regional training-of-trainer efforts for farm educators and mentors, and fostering peer-to-peer dialogue with programs across the country. She will introduce their new toolkit of resources for ag apprentices and the farmers who host them.

Lorien E. MacAuley, PhD, of Virginia Tech, will present on her recent research to uncover political implications of ag apprenticeship. In her recent critical ethnographic case study, she worked alongside 19 apprentices on six farms, conducted interviews (n=25) of farmers and ag apprentices, and analyzed documents (n=407) circulated by the local mediating organization who organizes networking and educational opportunities for ag apprentices. A discussion of the findings will explore issues of power, privilege, and equity in ag apprenticeship, as mediated by the values system of the alternative agrifood movement. The study highlights a few directions to explore in ag apprenticeships to maximize the potential for diversity, social justice, and viability of small farm systems.