Farm Labor Link Network

Information around COVID-19 pandemic is changing rapidly. Stay up to date on COVID-19 Resources from the Bureau of Agriculture.

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is charged with maintaining an agricultural jobs network linking farms and facilities processing agricultural products grown in the State with available workers who wish to work on a farm or in a local food industry. Whether you are an employer or someone interested in pursuing the rewarding work of farm and food productions, this can be a first step towards meetings your informational needs.

Search for Jobs in Agriculture

News

For Employers

Finding Employees +

A common concern among farmers is fulfilling their labor needs. In a tight labor market, you might find yourself casting your net far and wide. Once you have identified the level of skills and experience desired, target your audience, or consider expanding into a new demographic with the resources below.

Online Job Boards +
  • Maine Job Link Career Center – Free job listing site and resume search connecting you to thousands of local job seekers.
  • AgCareers – An international online career portal and job board for agricultural, food, and biotechnology industries.
  • ATTRA – National sustainable farming internships and apprenticeships directory of on-the-job learning opportunities.
  • Craigslist – A free site for employers to post jobs and employees to post their services.
  • Facebook and Instagram –Another Common way to connect through virtual word-of-mouth though sharing posts or paid advertising for positions. Be sure to make your post sharable!
  • Farm and Food Jobs – A nation-wide resource for paid and volunteer opportunities in agriculture and food related industries.
  • Good Food Jobs – A resource for opportunities with farmers, food artisans, purveyors, retailers, restauranteurs, and more.
  • Indeed – A popular international job posting website and career portal.
  • WWOOF – A network of international exchange programs where participants work on organic farms in exchange for room and board.
Alternative Advertising +
  • Local Job Boards – Consider making a poster advertisement for your job to post on local bulletin boards at food co-ops, farmers’ markets, libraries, town offices, community centers, feed/tractor supply stores, and local restaurants. There are many free online graphics tools like Canva.com you can use to create free professional posters.
  • Colleges with Ag Programs – See this page for a list of local and regional college contacts you can share your openings with.
  • Local Newspapers – Depending on your community this may be a vital tool.
  • Word-of-Mouth - Many agricultural jobs are found through word-of-mouth, Direct contact with school administrators, guidance counselors, coaches, and other local organizations such as 4-H, FFA, churches, sports, and other clubs can help spread the word.
  • Recruitment Incentives - Current and former workers can be great recruiters. You may consider offering incentives to current employees who recommend a candidate that becomes employed and continues working for a specific time period.
Career Placement Services +
  • Local Recruitment Services – Several Maine staffing agencies that can connect employers with local temporary staff or temp-to-hire employees.
  • Dept. of Labor Vocational Rehabilitation – Provides individuals with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities technical assistance with job placement, workplace accommodations and assistive technologies, internships, mentoring opportunities, and customized employment training. Brochure (DOC) Contact: Valerie Oswald, Maine Dept. of Labor, Vocational Rehabilitation (207) 623-7963
  • Dept. of Labor Hire-a-Vet - Provides support for employers to expand the hiring of veterans and military families, including assistance with recruiting, hiring, assimilation and retention, and recognition for the hiring and advancement of Veterans. Contact MaineHireAVet.DOL@Maine.gov or (207) 624-5156.
  • Dept. of Corrections Work Release Program – Many institutions offer robust agricultural training programs and have farms onsite meaning employees will have prior knowledge and experience working in agriculture. To learn more check out our new factsheet on Work Release for Farmers or contact your local adult facility for more details.
  • Senior Community Service Employment Program – This incentive program administered by the Associates for Training and Development connects older workers with job opportunities and subsidizes their first 160 hours of wages as an employer trains them to re-enter the workforce. For more information, please contact Debby Cleary at 207-530-2868. Brochure (PDF)
  • MaineWorks – A staffing company specializing in putting people back to work who face real barriers to workforce reentry, including people in recovery from substance abuse disorders and those with felony convictions.
Migrant Farmworkers and H-2A Agricultural Worker Visa Program +
  • Foreign workers typically come from agricultural backgrounds and can become real assets on a farm. Before beginning the process of hiring seasonal and migrant workers connect with the Maine Monitor Advocate by contacting Jorge Acero, Maine Monitor Advocate for the Maine Dept. of Labor to discuss what is required and where to start.
  • Review the Foreign Labor Certification process and other components of the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Program.
J-1 Visa workers +

There are opportunities under the J-1 Visa program for foreign college students to undertake internships and seasonal or temporary unskilled jobs in agriculture and agri-tourism. Brochure (PDF)

Apprenticeships +
  • Maine Apprenticeship Program - Employers provide in-house skill development through structured on-the-job learning supplemented with technical and theoretical course work. This training may also be provided by other agricultural organizations such as MOFGA. Financial assistance is available to offset some of the supervisory needs and classroom instruction. Depending on the age of the apprentice some apprenticeships may be unpaid. For more information contact: Eileen Miazga, Maine Dept. of Labor’s Apprenticeship Program Specialist at 207-623-7966.
  • MOFGA Farm Apprenticeship Program – Through his apprenticeship program famers can host apprentices and work with MOFGA to provide the educational component.
  • National Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program – This nationally recognized program helps current and aspiring diary farmers grow the future dairy labor force. For more information, please contact the Maine Education Coordinator, Rick Kersbergen at 207-342-5971.
  • Ag Apprentice Toolkit – This New Entry Sustainable Farming Project document provides guidance on starting an agricultural apprenticeship program. It is outlines state and federal laws applying to farm apprenticeship programs, offers best practices, and is intended to serve as a resource guide. Additional apprenticeship.
  • Farm Commons Webinar: Building a Legally Sound Intern and Volunteer Program for Farm Work – A good resource for clarifying which types of work arrangements need to be compensated for from interns, to volunteers, and apprentices.
Internships +

You might consider advertising an internship opportunity at your farm, which may or may not be paid. Prior to determining compensation please consult the intern test as described in this US Dept. of Labor Factsheet #71 established through case law. To seek interns reach out to regional colleges with an agriculture program.

Employer Incentive Programs +

When soliciting your openings keep in mind that there could be qualified individuals in your community that may face barriers to employment that should not be overlooked. You can find these individuals by contacting service providers listed under Career Placement tab. In addition to brining diversity to your workplace you could also qualify for a Federal tax credit and other support services.

  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program – This Federal tax credit program is available to employers for hiring individuals who face significant barriers to employment. This includes youth ages 16-18 years old, ex-felons, vocational rehab referrals, TANF recipients, and qualified veterans.
  • Federal Bonding Program – Offers up to $5,000 in bonding when hiring candidates considered to be higher risk. There are no out of pocket expenses for the employer because the bonds are provided free of charge and carry a $0 deductible.

Job Descriptions +

Hiring new employees is a very time-intensive endeavor. Writing compelling and accurate job descriptions attracts individuals who best align with your brand and who can achieve identified expectations. Job descriptions can also serve as tools for measuring work performance and as a legal document. Below is a list of resources to help determine the roles and responsibilities of a position, identify basic information to include with examples of a variety of agricultural job descriptions and templates.

Human Resource Management Tools +

Employees are as essential to your farm as is the weather, markets, and technology. To maintain a highly productive and profitable farm you need the tools and resources to attract, hire, develop, and inspire a team of reliable, engaged, and productive employees. This begins with a strong human resources plan. Below are many free human resource tools to help you create a more resilient workplace.

  • Maine-at-Work Initiative – A program through Maine Dept. of Labor that assists employers with hiring, upskilling staff, funding for training, creating internal career pathways, increased employee engagement, recruitment, and more.
  • New Farm Employee Orientation – A comprehensive checklist of state and federal requirements, mandatory and recommended training, best management practices, and additional resources.
  • Maine Agricultural Mediation Program - Provides alternative dispute resolution through mediation to agricultural producers. There may be no cost or a nominal fee for mediation.
  • Resources on Interpersonal Relationships for Greater Farm Viability – This collection of resources includes multiple tools to develop effective communication on the farm, how to set farm goals, time management resources, and other decision-making tools to create a more resilient workplace.
  • Missouri Farm Labor Guide – A very recent and comprehensive guide covering everything from recruitment, hiring, onboarding, training, mentoring, operations, retention, termination, and much more.
  • Resources from Dairy Graze Apprenticeship includes hiring tips, interview tips, onboarding guidance, and employee manual templates.
  • Guide to Developing an Agricultural Employee Handbook – An employee handbook is a useful tool for communicating your operation’s culture, history and values, as well as the policies and procedures employees are to follow. This comprehensive guide covers organizational structure, terms of employment, compensation and benefits, leave, human rights, workplace health and safety, internal policies, discipline, and much more.
  • Employer Sample Documents:

For Job Seekers

Is farming right for me? +

Agricultural talent is in high demand in Maine. The work is diverse and caters to all skill sets from youth employment, from blue-collar, green collar, management, to ownership positions. There is exciting work being done in diversified agriculture, precision agriculture, and sustainable agriculture across the state. Discover if a job in agriculture is right for you with this bulletin The Benefits and Drawbacks of Farm Work Experience in Maine from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Or check this Cumberland County Soil Water Conservation District video about agricultural opportunities in Maine.

Where can I find work in agriculture? +

Here are several job posting sites where you can find work in agriculture, agribusiness, plant science, natural resources, environmental services, animal science, agricultural mechanics, food science, and biotechnology.

  • Maine JobLink Career Center – Search Maine job postings for agricultural job opportunities and apprenticeships.
  • AgCareers – An international online career portal and job board for agricultural, food, and biotechnology industries.
  • ATTRA – National sustainable farming internships and apprenticeships directory of on-the-job learning opportunities.
  • Colleges with Ag Programs – Check colleges with agriculture programs for openings.
  • Craigslist – A free site for employers to post jobs and employees to post their services.
  • Farm and Food Jobs – Check this nation-wide resource for paid and volunteer opportunities in agriculture and food-related industries.
  • Facebook and Instagram – Farmers are using social media more and more to promote their farm, connect with customers, and increasingly solicit opportunities. Follow your favorite farms to stay abreast.
  • Good Food Jobs – A resource for opportunities with farmers, food artisans, purveyors, retailers, restauranteurs, and more.
  • Indeed – A popular international job posting website and career portal.
  • Local advertising - Some farms continue advertising in local newspapers and community bulletin boards. Be sure to keep your eye out.
  • USA Jobs – A listing of all federal employment opportunities nation-wide and internationally.
  • University of Maine – A listing of positions available at all University of Maine locations, including positions with the cooperative extension.
  • WWOOF – A network of international exchange programs where participants work on organic farms in exchange for room and board.
  • Word-of-Mouth - Many agricultural jobs are found through word of mouth. Direct contact with farms and service providers may be beneficial. An extensive list of farms and service providers can be found on our website: RealMaine.com
Apprenticeships
  • Maine Apprenticeship Program – Aspiring ag professionals can gain in-house skill development through structured on-the-job learning supplemented with technical and theoretical course work. The minimum age requirement for enrollment is 16 years old. For more information contact: Eileen Miazga, Maine Dept. of Labor’s Apprenticeship Program Specialist at 207-623-7966.
  • MOFGA Farm Apprenticeship Program – Through this apprenticeship program aspiring farmers can apply to be matched with host farms which partner with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association to provide the educational component.
  • National Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program – This nationally recognized program helps current and aspiring dairy farmers grow the future dairy labor force. For more information, please contact the Maine Education Coordinator, Rick Kersbergen at 207-342-5971.

Where can I learn more about agriculture?

Unemployment

For Employees

  • Filing for Unemployment - If your employment has been terminated due to no fault of your own you may be entitled to unemployment benefits. Your first step is to file for unemployment benefits through the Maine Dept. of Labor’s ReEmployMe page. Additional information about unemployment benefits.
  • COVID-19 Information - In response to the COVID-19 epidemic unemployment benefits are being expanded. To learn Department of Labor to learn more.

Labor Laws

Labor laws can be confusing and vary depending on the task employees are performing. In the field of agricultural work, not only are there significant differences between state and federal agricultural labor laws, these laws significantly differ from other types of employment. For this reason, it is important that you specify that your inquiry is regarding agricultural labor when reaching out to an agency.

Labor Posters

Stay in compliance and keep your employees informed about their rights with these labor law posters.

Legal Services

Agricultural labor laws can be confusing, seemingly contradictory, and difficult to understand. From exploring the fair labor standards act, overtime obligations, exempt work, volunteers, workers compensation, and more, find free legal resources for navigating employment laws here.

  • Employment Law Q & A webinars from New Entry Sustainable Farming Project. Topics include: exempt work, contractors, apprentices, workers’ compensation, and more.
  • Legal Food Hub - A free legal services clearinghouse for farmers, food entrepreneurs, and related organizations.
  • Farm Commons – A network of free legal resources including tip sheets, videos, checklists, and guides covering not only employment law, but contract law, value-added/ tourism law, land use, business structures, and more.

Worker Safety and Protection

Work in agriculture can expose employees to a variety of hazardous conditions from the physical nature of the work, to the handling of pesticides, heat-stress, and mechanical hazards. With proper training and a dedication to workplace safety many injuries can be avoided. Here are some resources to assist you and your employees work safely and address injuries if they should arise.

  • SafetyWorks! Maine Department of Labor - SafetyWorks! can help you prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths and reduce related costs. They offer free services, are confidential, and they don't issue fines or citations. SafetyWorks! professionals can train employers and employees on a wide range of safety and health topics-at no cost.
  • National Ag Safety Database - The National Ag Safety Database(NASD) is a web-based central repository of health, safety, and injury prevention materials for the agricultural community.
  • Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) - EPA's Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is aimed at reducing the risk of pesticide poisoning and injury among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers.
  • National Education Center for Agricultural Safety - National Safety Council has helped raise awareness of safety issues in rural communities for several years. NECAS is the only organization with a hands-on farm equipment safety training center. The facility also houses classrooms, a library and a resource center.
  • The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing - The Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program provides leadership to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses among the nation’s agricultural and forestry workers and fishermen.
  • Farm Tractor Safety Courses – University of Maine Cooperative Extension staff host periodical tractor safety trainings throughout the Spring to adults and youth ages 14 and up. Check this link to find times and locations.
  • Pesticide Applicators Licensure – Anyone who applies pesticides on the farm needs to have a pesticide applicator license. For more information on pesticide licensing visit the Board of Pesticides Control. Farm Safety Checklist – Over 25 different farm safety checklists available in fillable PDF forms covering topics such as silage storage, skid steer safety, youth safety, fatigue, from the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center with free Spanish translation.

New Mainer Employee Resources

We are pleased to have new Mainers joining our communities, bringing diversity, new skills, and innovation into Maine. Please know that there are many service providers available to assist with the transition. Here are a few.

  • Immigrant Welcome Center – Assists with food, shelter, legal support, health care, education, and career advancement opportunities.
  • Somali Bantu Community Association – Provides translation and interpretation, health care advocacy, immigration services, farmer training, agricultural entrepreneurial support, and more.
  • Cultivating Community – Provides farmer training, agricultural entrepreneurial support, and paid agricultural internships for teens.>
  • Prosperity Maine - Assists with career planning, employment skills, financial education, housing, and provides college scholarships.
  • Catholic Charities – Offers employment services, corporate training, vocational training, medical referrals, legal services, interpretation and translation, tutoring, mentoring, and providing basic needs.

Migrant and Seasonal Employee Resources

Migrant and seasonal employees play a vital role in sustaining agricultural operations in Maine. In 2012, 125 Maine farms reported hiring 2,706 migrant workers. Migrants represented 18 percent of all hired farm help in Maine. These individuals have a great desire to improve the lives of their families and make great sacrifices to find work. There are many services available to assist migrants to find work, shelter, health care, education, and job training during their time in Maine.

Disabled Employee Resources

All employees have their strengths and weaknesses. Those with disabilities are no different although some of their abilities may be more pronounced which can be a tremendous asset in the diverse field of agriculture. People with disabilities bring different talents, backgrounds and perspectives which can lead to increased productivity. Those with disabilities are often the most loyal and long-term employees, bringing a sense of pride and commitment to the work so many farmers are looking for. There are several organizations with the skills and resources to assist these individuals work safely and productively in agriculture.

  • AgrAbility – Assists full-time and part-time farm employees with a chronic health condition or disabilities work safely and more productively at no cost. Offering worksite assessments, strategies for adaptive management practices, modifications for equipment, tools, and other workplace considerations.
  • Employment for ME – Helps employers and employees with disabilities find resources and incentives, including financial incentives, employment services, training, transportation, and other supportive services for employers and employees.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation – Provides individuals with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities technical assistance with job placement, workplace accommodations and assistive technologies, internships, mentoring opportunities, and customized employment training. Contact: Valerie Oswald, Maine Dept. of Labor, Vocational Rehabilitation (207) 623-7963.

Veteran Resources

In 2017, 1,335 farmers with military service accounted for 14% of all principle producers in Maine according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Military service skill sets closely align with the characteristics of a successful farmer. From a strict adherence to rules and schedules, problem solving in the field, to accountability and discipline many veterans transition easily into farming. There are many resources to available to help assist veterans entering into agriculture. Most of which can be found in the resource below.

  • AgrAbility Farming Veteran Resources – A very comprehensive list of resources specific to farming veterans including but not limited to training and employment, financial assistance, and other state, federal, and non-profit resources.

If you have suggestions for improving this webpage or have difficulty accessing any of its content, please contact: yvette.meunier@maine.gov.