Photo by Beth Gibson

The Western Montana Freelance Farmhands is a listing of experienced farm workers who have been recommended by a previous employer in the region. These workers can be contacted about short term work opportunities on farms and ranches in Western Montana. This shared pool of workers provide farmers and ranchers easy access to experienced workers who can assist regular staff for short-term projects.

The List shares farm worker information among farmers in Missoula, Lake, and Ravalli counties. The Community Food and Agriculture Coalition hopes to build a management guide for this tool to share with other farm regions after the 2018 season. If you have any questions or are interested in more information about the tool, contact Dave.

 

How It Works

  1.   Farmers fill out an application to gain access to the farmhands list. Farmers may submit a worker at this time or at a future time. CFAC will review your information and email you a link to the Freelance Farmhands list.

  2.   Farmers may submit workers to the list at any time. Once a worker is submitted to the list CFAC will contact the farmhand to confirm details and availability. Upon confirmation, the worker’s reference and contact information will be added to the Freelance Farmhands list.

  3.   Farmers with access to the list are able to reach out to farmhands as needed to help with short-term projects (heavy harvest days, building a fence, working a CSA stand).

 

Qualifications

To be included in the list, workers must be recommended by a farmer that has previously employed them. The farmer may be contacted by potential employers as a reference or to learn more about the worker’s specific experience. Farmers should only refer workers who have their own transportation.

Farmers and Ranchers are expected to utilize the list as a shared, supplemental labor resource. Workers should be scheduled on an as-needed basis, and mangers are asked to share worker resources for the benefit of the group and the workers that participate. Remember that access to sufficient work throughout the season is a foundational element of a stable and skilled agricultural labor force. By sharing worker information, we can all help create a more abundant farm worker resource in Western Montana.

 

Accessing the List

If you would like to utilize the list to share and access workers, fill out the Freelance Farmhands Application.

You will receive a follow-up email with a link to the Freelance Farmhands List.  Use the list to contact workers that have indicated availability in your area.

 

Submitting Workers

By sharing worker information among farms, we can help create more stable work opportunities for the skilled farm workers in our communities. When workers can reliably expect work on multiple farms, it reduces the need to find other employment that may not allow for farm work in their schedule.

Farmers may submit workers to the Freelance Farmhands list during their initial application or at anytime after their application has been processed. Work hosts should have permission of person they’re recommending.

CFAC staff will be notified when a new name is submitted to the list. Staff will call the worker to confirm that they understand how the list works and that they are comfortable having name and contact information shared with others on list.

During this short intake phone call, staff will confirm the worker’s general availability, any blocks of time (≥ 1 week) during which the worker will be unavailable, and geographic ranges they are willing to travel.

Once confirmed, the worker’s information will be shared via the Freelance Farmhand List with participating farmers and ranchers.

 

Want to be a Freelance Farmhand?

If you would like to be added to the freelance farmhand list, talk to a farmer that you have previously worked for about submitting your name to the list. If you have any questions about the process, contact the list manager.

 

Fine Print

CFAC does not vet or endorse host or worker candidates. It is the responsibility of the participants to safeguard themselves by clearly defining and clarifying expectations, checking references, and asking questions. CFAC is not a party to any work agreement and the terms of any agreements should be considered private agreements between the host and the worker only.

CFAC is not responsible or liable for any harm or injury that may occur during a position. Proper safety training and precautions should be taken to reduce the chances of injury or accidents.