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Maura Bennett AG Workforce Development
by Maura Bennett, click here for bio

Program: Colorado Ag Today
Date: June 20, 2019

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Susan Wyman owns and operates a small farm in Gunnison called Gunnison Gardens.

For five years she has produced fruits, vegetables, plants and greenbed kits, among other items.

"It's a beautiful small little farm. I have four acres and we grow for a farmers market and a local CSA and also some restaurant wholesales and some direct sales. On our four acres we grow just an incredible variety of cold climate crops"

Gunnison Gardens is one of 20 state agriculture businesses who are participating in the new Agriculture Workforce Development Program.

The businesses offer paid internships for new and young ag professionals who will learn as they assist in all aspects of the operations. The program will reimburse the businesses up to 50% of the cost of hiring an intern.

Wyman says on her small scale budget the 50/50 financial split is a really good deal.

"But I think more importantly, I really care about local food and local food production and being able to teach young people and young farmers what I know so that we can all build a more resilient local food economy. I take it pretty seriously the internship aspect of training and having topics and that responsibility and teaching a new workforce how to farm and how to grow food."

Internships are also going to ranching, livestock production, tree fruit and vegetable production research operations. Approximately $40,000 is available for the first round of internships through June 30, 2020

The businesses' applications were scored by industry stakeholders including the Colorado Farm Bureau, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and Young Farmers Coalition.

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