Mentor Training

Supporting apprenticeship and mentorship in agriculture

2018-2019 Mentor Training

Are you considering mentoring apprentices or interns on your ranch or farm? Do you want to improve your apprentice recruitment, selection, training, workflow and feedback?

Join us for our 7-session mentor training series for $50, or join any session for $10. Hosted by conference call with seasoned mentors. Readings and templates are provided.


Recruiting & Apprenticeship Descriptions (Th, Sep 27, 7-8pm mountain time): 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 (Th, Nov 15, 7-8pm, Mountain time): 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 Phone/Skype and on-site working Interviews (Th, Nov 29, 7-8pm, Mountain time): What questions should you ask in an interview to get at the skill level, motivation and personality of an applicant? What questions can you not legally 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 (Th, Jan 31, 7-8pm, Mountain time): 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.


Workflow and Feedback (Th, Feb 7, 7-8pm, Mountain time): How do you structure the daily, weekly, and monthly communication with your apprentice? From regular work meetings with your team to scheduled feedback sessions, mentors share structures that have helped maintain focus, communication and motivation in the busy season.


Curriculum & Next Steps (Th, Feb 21, 7-8pm, Mountain time): Going over a skills list with your apprentice, identifying and setting up visits to other operations or educational opportunities, helping your apprentice create their learning plan and supporting them in their next steps on their agricultural career path.


Straight Talk Feedback (Th, Feb 28, 7-8pm, Mountain time): Giving and receiving feedback is often one of the most fraught challenges of being a mentor. We offer a tested structure to feedback that supports objective, honest, and open conversations in scheduled feedback sessions..


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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