Mentor Training

Supporting apprenticeship and mentorship in agriculture

2019-2020 Mentor Training

Tuesdays, 7:00 AM Mountain Standard Time – BY PHONE CONFERENCE 


Considering mentoring apprentices or interns on your ranch or farm? Want to improve apprentice recruitment, selection, training, education/work balance work and feedback?

Join us for our free 7-session mentor training series. Hosted by conference call with seasoned mentors from the Quivira Coalition New Agrarian Program. Readings and templates are provided.

Recruiting & Apprenticeship Descriptions (Oct 22nd, 7 am MST) 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.

Evaluating Written Applications (Nov 12th, 7am MST) How do you sort through written applications? We will share a couple of rubrics, strategies for tackling the pile of applications, and templates for responses to applicants who you would like to interview and those you will decline.

Effective Interviews (Dec 10th, 7 am MST) What questions should you ask in an interview to get at the skill level, motivation and personality of an applicant? What questions are illegal to ask? How do you evaluate interviewees?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.

Setting Expectations (Jan 28th, 7 am MST) Your apprentice is about to arrive. Writing an apprenticeship agreement, creating a skills list, and setting clear boundaries at the beginning can support a successful apprenticeship.

Balancing Work and Education (Feb 18th, 7 am MST) How do you structure the workday, week, and month so that both education and the work get done? Mentors share strategies from regular work 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. 

Mentoring to Create a Self-Initiating Apprentice (March 10th, 7 am MST) Keep your apprentice motivated by helping them make relevant goals that take advantage of the built-in learning at your operation. Learning plans, using the skills list as a catalyst for self-directed learning, setting up visits to other operations or educational opportunities, and supporting them in their next steps on their agricultural career path.

Feedback (May 12th, 7 am MST) Giving and receiving feedback is often 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 below or by phone at 505-820-2544.

  • We will email you readings from our Agrarian Apprenticeship Guidebook and templates for applications, apprenticeship description examples, and the conference call information.

Agrarian Apprenticeship Handbook

For the last year, the New Agrarian Program has delved deep into the state of agricultural apprenticeship in the US as part of a Thornburg Foundation funded research project. The culmination of this work is a 120+ page book detailing our findings, profiling apprenticeship programs around the US, and a guide to starting an apprenticeship on your ranch or farm. In 2015, the New Agrarian Program launched a national dialogue among agricultural apprenticeship programs in order to foster systemic improvements in agricultural education and practice and to encourage the development of new programs of a consistently high quality. Initial research included in-depth analysis of apprenticeship programs, follow-up interviews, and site visits to diverse regions and regenerative agricultural operations. This work has culminated in Agrarian Apprenticeship. We hope you enjoy reading it, and using it as a resource.  The digital edition is available for free online here, you can download a PDF, or you can order a hard copy. Check out the QC store. The print edition is a limited run, so reserve a copy today by emailing


Agrarian Apprenticeship Guidebook

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