Senate Bill 5123, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, would extend a pilot program that allows farms with gross sales of less than $250,000 annually to create internship programs for future farmers.
"The average farmer is 57-years-old and young people are not exactly lining up to enter the agriculture industry," Ranker said. "This bill would make sure opportunities for internships exist for those young people who want to pursue this opportunity to build on our state’s farming heritage."
The program allows farms in certain counties around the state to employ up to three interns who are not enrolled in classes to work on farms throughout the state.
Farms will be required to submit an application to the state’s Department of Labor and Industries and complete an agreement with the intern that includes a description of the work and any wages to be paid.