The Colorado State University Western Colorado Research Center in Grand Junction is among 20 participants selected for a new state program that provides incentives to hire paid interns to work in the agricultural sector.
“This program invests in the future of Colorado’s agriculture and will help create a pathway for the next generation of farmers, ranchers and ag leaders to access educational work opportunities in a real business setting,” said Kate Greenberg, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture.
Tom Lipetzky, markets division director with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, said investing in the work force is crucial for continued progress in the industry. “With this cost-share incentive, we hope agricultural businesses see this as an opportunity to help build a talent pipeline and pathway for educating our next generation of agricultural leaders.”
The department selected 20 participants for its agricultural work force development program and awarded internship incentives for use until June 30, 2020.
Qualified internships must include at least 130 hours of work experience and provide focused learning opportunities for interns. Qualified businesses could be reimbursed up to 50 percent of the cost of hiring an intern, not to exceed $5,000 per internship.
Applicants were reviewed and scored by a group of industry stakeholders, including a vegetable grower and a human resources professional as well as representatives from the Colorado Farm Bureau, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and Young Farmers Coalition.
Internship opportunities will include work with not only the grape, tree fruit and vegetable production research conducted at the CSU center, but also livestock and community supported agriculture operations.
Other participants in the program include Altitude Mesa Hops Farms in Delta and Gunnison Gardens in Gunnison as well as FLC-Old Fort at Hesperus, High Pine Produce and Tierra Vida Farm all in Durango.
“As a new farm operation, having my first intern has allowed me to expand my farm and to learn about my own leadership capabilities,” said Andrew Nowak with Community Table Farm in Longmont. “Without this new help, my business would still be in its beginning stage.”