Advice for Host Farms

OEFFA encourages positive, mutually-beneficial farm labor arrangements between host farms and workers. To that end, we offer the following advice to host farmers:

Interviewing and Accepting a Seasonal Laborer

  • If at all possible, talk to the candidate on the phone once, and encourage them to visit the farm for an extended interview before committing. The annual OEFFA conference can also be a good opportunity to meet and interview potential farm workers.
  • In your interviews, be sure to clarify mutual expectations and ground rules. Check references and offer your personal references as well. Use the Seasonal Farm Job Questionnaire to define issues many farms face.
  • Make an employment offer and agree to terms in writing before beginning work.

Compensation and Benefits

  • Seasonal farm labor pay in most cases must follow minimum wage and other standard employment compensation requirements. Ohio’s state law mandates that unpaid interns, whether full or part-time, be covered by workers compensation insurance just like regular farm employees. An OEFFA member benefit is a group rate for workers compensation insurance.
  • Some host farmers provide room and at least partial board for farm workers who are working full time. Check your farm's liability insurance policy to ensure that your farm and personal assets are properly protected when hosting a live-in farm worker.
  • Be as clear as possible in your Host Farm profile about what you are offering in terms of stipend, room, board, benefits, etc. Even if there is room for negotiation, it’s best to state a baseline offer (for a candidate with minimal experience) as clearly as possible in your application materials. Job seekers without any prior experience may be uncomfortable negotiating, and may shy away from an opportunity where too much is "negotiable."
  • The employee relationship will be strengthened through a written employee manual and standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Communication and Conflict Resolution

  • Clear communication procedures support thriving farm employment situations. To the best of your ability, create an atmosphere of easy communication so that problems or misunderstandings can be discussed and dealt with quickly and amicably.
  • Seek out feedback often and try to react constructively, without defensiveness, to complaints or criticism received. Consider defining a conflict resolution process before an issue occurs.

Education

  • Some farm workers hope to receive on-farm education in addition to contributing their labor. Taking time to discuss with workers the broader health, environmental, and economic implications of farm tasks advances the overall goals of sustainable agriculture.
  • Hosting an intern with specific learning goals is a time-honored tradition that can benefit both the intern and the farmer. OEFFA supports this work through our Certified Intern Host Farm program. Click through to learn more about our Certified Intern Host Farm training and Intern benefits.

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OEFFA
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
41 Croswell Rd.
Columbus OH 43214

oeffaoeffaorg

OEFFA:(614) 421-2022 (614) 421-2022
OEFFA Certification:(614) 262-2022 (614) 262-2022