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Higher Ed in the News

Organic, down on the farm summer internships

May 26, 2009

There's a new wave of liberal arts students who are heading to farms as interns this summer, in search of both work, even if it might pay next to nothing, and social change.

But whatever the reason, the interest in summer farm work among college students has never been as high, according to dozens of farmers, university professors, and people who coordinate agricultural apprenticeships.

The new rush from campus to farm is not among conventional agricultural students from land-grant schools. Many of those still seek internships on large-scale farms or with companies like Monsanto.

Katherine L. Adam, who runs the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, said 1,400 farms sought interns this year, almost triple the number two years ago. The number of small farms, which attract the new agrarians and can use the cheap, enthusiastic help, has grown sharply since 2003, according to the Department of Agriculture.

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