I currently work on a pick your own orchard/cidery production. I’m a farmer here, farming the fields and jumping around to do stuff with the cider production. This is the end of my second season farming.

The cidery is year-round. I will continue on through the winter. It’s different in every region of the United States. One of my main concerns of finding a job was that I wanted to find something that was guaranteed full time throughout the year, and not just be done in November when most farms dismiss their labor needs for the most part. I’m fortunate to find something that I can do year round even in winter. 

There’s a lot of lack of control – there’s always going to be ideas that me or my coworkers who don’t own the farm have that aren’t going to come to fruition because at the end of the day we aren’t the boss and don’t have a financial stake in the company.

Even my boss, the farm manager, isn’t the farm owner. He has the most acute sense of not having full control of the land where he’s doing most of the work. 

I think the owners are awesome and amazing people, but I don’t know quite where I stand with things like paid sick leave. One of my coworkers wanted to stay home and quarantine just in case…she is paid hourly like me, and she lost a whole week of work where she was just trying to protect her colleagues because the only place she is going is the farm to work with us.
I did some research into NY state laws for ag workers.There were rules that I didn’t previously know – you have to give your employees overtime for over 60 hours/week.
There were a few times in the summer that I probably was eligible, I don’t know because I wasn’t really paying attention.
These are things you should know as a worker – it should be clear. 

I think a dream farm would be where I’m able to work with other people and we all have our specialities.

Where we try new things that we are interested in, where we have autonomy over our own little section, but we are able to work together in the larger scheme of the farm.

I also think that an interesting idea for an ideal farm would be shared ownership, the employees having some sort of ownership of the farm, rather than just be employees. To have some stake or equity that could accumulate the more they are there. 

A lot of people get into farming because of this picturesque ideal vocation, and to a certain extent that also happened to me when I first got into it.

I think I want to fix things, like the inequities in the food system. The inequalities that undocumented farm laborers face, that’s a huge thing for me – the farm labor force and food system labor force as a whole – being able to make it somewhat more live-able for them.