Rebirth of the American Farmer
A pilot project in Washington state aims to attract more youth to farming by making internships safer and more educational.
With increased imports of food and raw materials and stricter government regulations, the job of the American farmer has fallen low on the list of professions most children want to be when they grow up. In a move that will hopefully attract more youth to farming, Washington state has instituted a one-year pilot project in two counties (Skagit and San Juan) to allow small farms to take on up to three interns each, according to a Washington State Department of Labor and Industries press release. Unlike most interns who often work for minimal benefit, though, those on the farm receive workers' compensation coverage in case they’re injured on the job. The program brings safety and protection to a dangerous line of work (more on-the-job deaths occurred in the agriculture industry than any other in Washington last year). To qualify, farms must sell less than $250,000 a year and create a curriculum to maximize the intern’s learning experience.