The Ultimate Guide to Finding Paid Jobs on Organic Farms
Cover image source: Pixabay
There are many reasons for considering a job on an organic farm. Maybe you would like to do more to fight climate change or perhaps you want to live a healthier lifestyle and learn new skills. This can be a wonderful way of doing something different and getting paid for it, but what do you need to know to get started?
Understand the Different Jobs
The idea of farming might appeal to you, but how will you find it when it gets down to the nitty-gritty of working outside all day long in all types of weather, getting dirty, and all the things that come with this kind of work? A lot of people have only a vague idea of what a farmer does as part of their job, and this can mean they go into this job search with the wrong impression.
An organic farm is very demanding physically, as you are likely to be on your feet moving around pretty much all day. If you aren’t used to getting a lot of exercises, it could take you some time to get into the swing of things and to feel as though you are fit enough to do it without suffering from tired limbs the next day.
You will also need to learn to take care of your body and to get on with the job without complaining, no matter what the day throws at you. If you can do that, you will feel a lot happier and should end up feeling that you can cope with just about anything that you come across in life.
Of course, the level of physical activity varies according to the exact job you carry out. You might be harvesting something light and easy to handle, or you may take part in a tough harvest that involves long, tough days and bulky vegetables. The other tasks that need to be carried out on farms run from planting new vegetables to taking out weeds, spreading fertilizer, and so on. You might also be asked to fix fences, mend machinery or sort out anything else that needs to be done around the place.
Alternatively, you could be in charge of selling food at the market or farm shop. Other roles that you could come across include taking charge of the farm’s social media accounts or carrying out some other sort of marketing activities. If you have an accounting background you may well be involved in bookkeeping which is critical in a farming business. There are numerous office jobs and sales roles that farms need to fill to operate successfully. These types of roles could potentially be remote or hybrid work opportunities if that’s more aligned with what you’re looking for.
Find out as much as you can about the exact position and whether it involves activity levels you are comfortable with. Maybe you are keen to get a physical job that gives you lots of exercise, or perhaps you would be happier in a shop or behind a desk.
Consider the Financial Side of Things
You have probably noticed that organic produce is often more expensive than other types that are industrially produced on a large scale. However, this doesn’t mean that you can expect to earn a huge salary. The owners of small, organic farms tend to face an uphill struggle to compete in the market, and simply can’t afford to pay out big wages.
You shouldn’t expect to get paid the same for working on an organic farm as you would get from a multinational financial company or a big retail chain. Yet, the owners will often sweeten the deal with extras such as free housing and meals included in your overall package, which can be ideal if you are looking for a fresh start somewhere new.
It isn’t the sort of job that you will get into for big financial rewards. Instead, you will be living a different kind of lifestyle and picking up some very important tips, while also helping to increase the sustainability of the planet. Consider how important these factors are for you and you will make a sensible decision.
The decision might be easier to make if you look at it as a temporary job. Some people carry out farm work on a seasonal basis, to get a taste of a different lifestyle before they move on to do something else that pays more. However, there is a chance that you enjoy it so much that you stick with it longer than you originally expected to.
If we look at the average salary for an organic farm manager in the US, we can see that it varies quite widely from one region to another. This role has an average salary of about $50,000 according to some rural recruitment sites, while others put it at closer to $70,000.
In general terms, the salary for workers on American organic farms starts at about $30,000 and can go a lot higher depending upon the location, what it produces, and the exact role being carried out. In the UK, working in an organic farm shop or a general job on the farm tends to provide earnings of between £9 and £10 per hour, which is about $12.50 to $14.
Find the Right Job
These days, we are used to looking online for any type of job. You will certainly find some agricultural jobs on the internet, but not all farms advertise in this way. The benefit of looking on the internet is that you can very quickly compare different positions in terms of location, salary, and so on.
In a matter of minutes, you will be able to compile a list of the roles and salaries that are available in the area you are interested in working in. If there is nothing there to interest you, the next step would be to broaden your search a bit further and see if you can find a suitable job somewhere else.
The lead-up to summer is a good time to look online, as this is when many farms ramp up for their busiest time of year. By searching online, you can also find a wide variety of roles, from team member to shop manager and delivery driver. Another way of searching for farm jobs is by going to a local farmer’s market and talking to some of them. Look for those farmers who use the organic approach and appear to have an ethical way of working and take care of employee engagement.
The Interview Process
In many cases, farmers will take more of an old-fashioned approach to recruitment than you would expect in the corporate world, preferring to talk to you, rather than deal with application forms and formal interviews. You might find it less stressful than looking for a corporate job, but that doesn’t mean that you can take it too lightly.
As the farming industry is very much international and globalized, you may find that jobs appear outside of your home country that you'd like to take on. As mentioned before, these jobs can give you the opportunity to start fresh, whether that be somewhere else in the country, or on a different continent altogether. If you aren’t comfortable carrying out this kind of in-depth conversation in English, for example, you might want to look for English tutors online. You can choose between learning English for work or for exams, or other approaches. Choose a tutor whose profile gives you confidence and explain to them the kind of work you are keen to get, so they can tailor your lessons around this.
It isn’t always necessary to show that you have experience working on a farm, either. The owner may be happy to show you the ropes providing that you appear keen and willing to learn what is needed. If you have manual skills or are good with people, these skills could be seen as advantages for certain farms and are worth mentioning. If it’s a labor-intensive job, you will want to make sure you are in shape so that the owner can tell you that you will be able to handle the work. You could start a strength training program in advance to help you prepare. After all, there are many benefits to strength training.
Above all, you should get ready to talk about the job and show that you understand what it is about. Having some questions ready about the type of work and conditions will show that you have done some homework and put a bit of thought into it. Long working days are often required in these roles and you may be asked to live on-site, so it is best to check before you agree to anything.
You could also improve your knowledge by researching areas relating to the natural, sustainable use of the planet’s resources. This could mean that you learn about ways of reducing energy use on organic farms and how to grow certain types of fruit or vegetables. You might find a chance to fit this knowledge into your conversation, helping to show your high levels of enthusiasm.
Image source: Pixabay
Enjoy the Experience
Once you have secured the job you want, it is time to enjoy the experience. There is a lot for you to learn, and your body is likely to be tired after your first few days of farming. Yet, it is something that is going to enrich your life in so many ways. As you adjust to the slower pace of life, you might consider picking up new hobbies like learning a new instrument or another creative endeavor.
As with any major change that you make to your lifestyle, don’t expect to feel completely comfortable from day one. You may have a few difficult moments in which you wonder whether you made the right decision. This is perfectly normal but look to keep going even when the going gets tough.
Follow this guide and you should find that it is a lot easier to break into an organic farm job and enjoy all of the benefits of this way of working.