Connecting farmers

WITH FARMERS

Farmer-to-Farmer Organic Mentorship Program

The program is a new initiative from Oregon Tilth to meet the growing demand and preference for peer-to-peer, on the ground training in organic agriculture. For conventional growers transitioning to organic practices as well as organic farmers pursuing certification for the first time, the certification process presents unique challenges. By connecting transitioning and newly certified organic growers (mentees) with experienced organic farmers (mentors), the mentorship program facilitates knowledge-sharing, certification support, and valuable networking opportunities.

How does the program work?

Participants are paired based on criteria such as organic expertise, farm size, production type, farm location, and learning goals. The year-long mentorship program kicks off in winter with an annual goal-setting and planning meeting held in a location central to participants. Guest experts provide insight on certification, production practices and resources. Throughout the year, participants make two (or more) farm visits. Mentors are available by phone/email as needed by mentees. Communication expectations are discussed and agreed upon during the kick-off meeting.

To conclude the program, all participants are expected to attend and participate in the following year’s winter meeting and share their experiences with incoming mentors and mentees.

Who can participate?

For the 2017/2018 program, the mentorship is offered in the following states: Oregon, Idaho and Washington.

Mentee benefits

  • Connect with an experienced organic farmer committed to sharing their knowledge about organic agriculture and certification over the course of a year.
  • Host a mentor visit to your farm for on-site support
  • Visit the mentor’s farm for on-site education and observation
  • Engagement with Oregon Tilth and organic stakeholders (i.e. extension agents, organic buyers, etc.)
  • Two years free admission to an agricultural conference

Cost of participation for mentees: $200

Mentor benefits

  • A stipend of $1,000
  • Opportunity to share knowledge and experience with other farmers
  • Opportunities for increased education and engagement with Oregon Tilth as well as other organic stakeholders (i.e. extension agents, organic buyers, etc.)
  • Two years free admission to an agricultural conference

Application

The application period for the 2018/2019 program is now open. Applications are below.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and will be accepted until all spots are filled. All applications for the 2018/2019 season must be submitted by December 5, 2017.

Mentors applicant criteria:
Currently certified organic
Farming organically for five (5) or more years
Experience and interest in providing agricultural education and training
Open to inviting others to visit their farm
Make at least one (1) visit to the mentees farm
Located in Oregon, Idaho or Washington
2017 Mentor Application [Online] Download 2017 Mentor Application Form [PDF]
Mentees applicant criteria:
Farming commercially for two or more years
Own or lease agricultural land
Be in the process of transitioning to organic, applying for certification, or
already certified (no longer than three years)
Located in Oregon, Idaho or Washington
2017 Mentee Application [Online] Download 2017 Mentee Application Form [PDF]

The Farmer-to-Farmer Organic Mentorship Program is a project of Oregon Tilth, made possible by funding from Risk Management Agency and partnerships with Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides and Tilth Alliance. We provide technical assistance for growers, processors, handlers and others. Our goal is to help all transitioning to organic production set clear expectations and meet their unique needs throughout the process.