July 03--TUMWATER -- An expanded government-supported farm intern program will reduce risk to small farmers and people wanting to learn farming practices.
The state Department of Labor and Industries has expanded its Farm Internship Project to include Chelan, Grant and 14 other Washington counties starting this month through December 2017.
Douglas and Okanogan counties are not included in the project. The program began as a pilot project in 2010-11 in Skagit and San Juan counties.
Under the project, interns will have worker's compensation protection as they work in farming activities.
Previously, small farms exchanged informal on-farm education for stipend or volunteer labor without insurance to protect against injury, putting both farms and workers at risk, according to a Labor & Industries press release.
Farms with annual sale of less than $250,000 are eligible for up to three interns a year. Although exempt from minimum wage laws, the farms must have worker's compensation coverage and follow applicable safety and health laws. More information is available at lni.wa.gov/FarmInternProject.
Reach Rick Steigmeyer at 509-664-7151 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog Winemaker's Journal or follow him on Twitter at @steigmeyerww.
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