South Bend Industrial Hemp is launching an apprenticeship program for two positions through Kansas Farm Bureau’s (KFB) award-winning Rural Kansas Apprenticeship Program (RKAP). 

"South Bend Industrial Hemp strives to be a leader in this emerging industry, while maintaining our foundation of core values we've developed in our rural community,” says Melissa Nelson-Baldwin, a co-founder of South Bend Industrial Hemp. “It is only natural to extend to a partnership with like-minded grassroot organizations such as Kansas Farm Bureau. Our focus is improving the health of our community by providing job opportunities and economic growth in conjunction with personal development.”

The program is designed to provide training and technical instruction to employees hired into specific operations positions. Apprentices will be recruited, interviewed, hired and employed by South Bend Industrial Hemp. Contact the company for more information about their hemp processing facility operator apprenticeship at

KFB will serve as the intermediary sponsor working with South Bend Industrial Hemp and the Kansas Office of Registered Apprenticeship to assist in the administration of these apprenticeship opportunities. Apprentices will receive mentorship, training and compensation while developing skills in a high-demand agricultural career path.

“As rural communities continue to diminish, our intention is to provide opportunities and hope for applicants,” Nelson-Baldwin says. “We are equally proud to be the first certified apprenticeship program in the hemp processing space. We have always aimed to set the standard high as we've helped shape the industry by investing in our farmers, processes and people.”

RKAP is the first-ever registered apprenticeship program focused on agriculture and rural Kansas. With its broad charter, RKAP has the capability to bring this innovative education and employment opportunity to communities across the state. 

“KFB is excited to develop a program where South Bend Industrial Hemp and its employees can grow alongside each other to support agriculture and rural Kansas,” says Joel Leftwich, KFB’s chief strategy officer.

If you are interested in partnering with Kansas Farm Bureau in an apprenticeship program, contact Joel Leftwich at or visit