Eager Farmer Interview

In Apprenticing & Partnering by James4 Comments

If you are a wannabe farmer like me and you want to start farming you’re going to need two primary things: a teacher and a place to learn. Eager Farmer provides access to both of these in an unparalleled way at the moment. I contacted Sheri Salatin of the acclaimed Polyface Farms and founder of Eager Farmer and asked if she would answer a few questions I had about the new website which she launched earlier in the year. She kindly obliged. The essence of Eager Farmer is it’s a place (website) that farmers, land owners, and wannabe farmers can go to and find one another.  Connection has been one of the biggest obstacles for both the next generation of farmers, and the currently retiring generation of farmers who are looking for young people to continue and improve upon their legacy. Check out the interview below, and then go to Eager Farmer and see the beautiful platform for yourself. Thanks for reading and thanks to Sheri Salatin for answering my questions.


1. I’m a wannabe farmer, and when I discovered the launch of Eager Farmer I was delighted. Platforms for making the connections with farmers and land owners for wannabes like myself don’t seem to be abundant as far as my research has shown. Are there other people / groups offering similar services, or is Eager Farmer pioneering the effort?  

Sheri’s response:

As of right now and as far as I know, Eager Farmer is the first of its kind.

 Here are some distinct advantages of the Eager Farmer website that are not found on other sites at the moment:

 1) All ads are current. Nothing is out of date. (nor ever will be)

2) Individuals are able to post as looking for experience, a job or land to farm.

3) It’s not limited to one local area. The ads are world-wide.

4) It encourages long-term relationships in the farming community. Not just a fly-by-night experience.

5) Advertising is very affordable.

6) You don’t have to publish your email/contact information for the world to see. All email communication goes through our site first to make sure that you aren’t getting spam.

7) Eager Farmer caters only to the people aspect of farming. Our goal is to promote good workers on healthy farms. We want to see good working relationships established.

8) Eager Farmer caters to wannabe farmers, land owners, experienced farmers and farmers without land.

2. My website is really about recording my journey into farming and hopefully giving a template to others who fit a similar context and want to make a transition into farming. How would you suggest somebody like me (mid 30’s, little experience or background in farming) utilize Eager Farmer to get  started in farming? 

Sheri:

Start by deciding what it is that you want to do. Then visit Eager Farmer and look through all of the ads that pertain to your interests. For instance, if you have no experience at all but have a high interest in dairy farming, go to Eager Farmer and click on the Find A Position section, then write “Dairy” in the search. Look through the ads that show up and see if there are any that fit you.

 If nothing gets you excited, then place your own ad. It may be, that there is another farmer out there who is looking for a young farmer with exactly your sort of passion. What can you lose?

3. I read Joel Salatin’s book “Fields of Farmers” which I believe is a must read for anyone looking to apprentice or take on apprentices. One idea in that book really got me excited and gave me hope. It’s the idea of joining a network. You start out as an intern or apprentice then if the relationship is good it may turn into a manager position. And from there the new farmer might start enterprises of their own and branch out on their own with the encouragement of Polyface Farms. This sounds like the ideal transition, and I’m wondering if it’s common for this to happen or is it another pioneering effort by Polyface Farms that is still taking hold?

Sheri:

From many of the ads currently placed on Eager Farmer, I would say that there are more farmers out there who are looking for young self-starters to come work with them for a while and then to stay on in some sort of management form. As I write this, there are two farming ads on Eager Farmer from older farmers looking for someone to whom they can leave their farms. They want a young person to invest in them and the farm during these golden years and develop that relationship and trust so that they can leave a heritage.

 4. When you visualize success for Eager Farmer what does that look like? Is there anything else you’d like to say? 

Sheri:

My biggest passion is helping farmers be successful. Many times, as farmers we try to do it all on our own. To me the idea of success for Eager Farmer is creating something that is bigger than just a website. It’s empowering people to go back to their roots. It’s encouraging farmers to build their forever farms and leave the land better than the way they found it. I tried to sum it up in my mission statement which is this:

To establish connections, kick-start partnerships and encourage healthy agricultural landscapes that span the generations.

A successful Eager Farmer means a place where all farmers, wannabe farmers and land owners can go to find the support and helping hand they need to leave the world a better place.

 Thank you so much for having me here today. I’m looking forward to hearing more of your story to successful farming. I love to hear from readers and I can be reached through Eager Farmer in the About section – www.eagerfarmer.com/about-us/

Comments

  1. Addye Thole

    Good information exchange I thought! Sounds like “Eager Farmer” is a current mode of information exchange that will provide avenues of help. I found the already existing 2 legacy farm situations, where the farmers are looking for someone to carry on their farm, encouraging for them as well as for you & others. Good interview.

  2. Author
    James

    Thanks! It’s a pretty amazing service that’s offering something nobody else at the moment is; and a key thing at that.

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