flowers and cows

J-1 Program

Matching young internationals with American dairy farmers


Global Cow will consider applicants from any country, and all countries are eligible to participate in J-1 visa programs.  However, the US Embassies will ultimately decide if  visa applicant will receive a visa. 

Some questions to ask yourself: 

  • Have I previously traveled outside my home country?  
  • Have I overstayed a previous visa? 
  • Do I have family members who are in the USA illegally? 
  • Have I already been denied a visa to the USA?  If yes, what has changed in my situation that would change the US Embassy’s response? 
  • Can I show strong country ties, solid reasons that I MUST return to my home country after I complete my program? 
  • Does my university require this training in order to complete my degree? Does my employer support my training? 
  • Do I have a spouse or dependents?
  • Do I own property, and can I show proof of ownership? Do I have a business, with financial information that I could show at the US Embassy? 


  • Applicants and farms complete applications and documentation on-line.
  • Global Cow reviews and confirms interest and suitability for the program.
  • Hosts complete a site visit; participants complete web-camera English tests.
  • Upon acceptance, hosts and international candidates pay initial fees.
  • Global Cow posts applicants on the website.
  • Farms review and choose a specific applicant. 
  • Exchange visitors confirm they want to train on the farm who chooses them. 
  • Global Cow prepares an individualized training plan for each. 
  • Applicants make their visa appointments, keeping Global Cow informed of visa date and visa results.
  • Visitors book travel to closest airport, where they are met by hosts.
  • Visitors “learn by doing”, and accomplish their training plan goals while staying with one host farm for 12 months. 
  • Visitors must return home at 12 months; no extensions can be done under this type of visa. 
  • In-take and matching process typically takes about 3-4 months.


  • How good must visitor’s English be? Visitors speak English, and pass an oral test by webcam.
  • When can I start? Any time. Processing time is between 2-4 weeks to find a farm, plus visa approval in-country.
  • Do visitors have a lot of farm background and educational background in agriculture? Visitors’ backgrounds will vary; most have limited work experience and limited dairy experience. Farms see full visitor application before accepting a specific person.
  • Where do visitors come from? Mainly South America and Africa.
  • Where are the host farms located? Most are in the Upper Midwest.
  • Are all the farms dairy? Most are. On a limited basis, we may be able to assist with other types of agricultural experiences.
  • What’s the best thing about these programs? Great international experiences!
  • What’s the worst thing that can go wrong? Bad expectations. This program is for a young person who wants to learn about agriculture… and for a farmer who wants to share his enthusiasm about agriculture.
  • Can visitors change farms? Changes are not encouraged, and will cost extra.
  • Is there a certificate? Yes, Global Cow will provide a certificate of completion.
  • How long will it take?  In-take and matching process typically takes about 3-4 months.
Peruvian tractor driver


  • Speak English at a high level (tested with web cam).
  • Commit to one farm for 12 months.
  • Possess no criminal record.
  • Be a current ag student or recent ag graduate.
  • Be 20-30 years old.
  • Be in good physical condition.
  • Complete an application, three reference letters, CV.
  • Be able to show strong home country ties. 

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR AFRICANS:  Global Cow has loved working with many excellent trainees and interns from Africa, especially from Tanzania and Uganda. However, in the past years, the US Embassies have denied essentially all applicants from African nations who have not traveled outside of their home countries.  


  • Enjoy teaching about modern American agriculture.
  • Introduce American culture.
  • Provide proof of general farm liability insurance.
  • Commit to 12 months of training and good communication.
  • Complete an application form, including three references.
  • Agree to a farm visit.


BEFORE finding a host farm

  • $950 sponsoring program fees
  • $600 Global Cow program fees
  • $850 health insurance for 12 months
  • $220 SEVIS
  • $45 shipping of visa documents

TOTAL:  $2,665


  • Exchange visitor pays flight to airport nearest to host farm; estimated at $1,000.
  • Exchange visitor should plan on having own cash for any incidentals at beginning, recommended amount is $1,000.


Global Cow has no scholarships, and the program fees must be paid as listed in order to participate. 

During program 

  • $200 administration paid monthly
  • Deducted by host

TOTAL:  $2,400

See refund policies below


    BEFORE finding an exchange visitor

    • $150 one-time charge to access full applications on website
    • $500 first exchange visitor program fee; $300 each subsequent visitor

    TOTAL:  varies from $300 to $650 

    AFTER matched with exchange visitor

    • $250 site visit (required if host farm has < 25 employees or earns < $3 million annually) 

    TOTAL:  $0-$250

    WHEN exchange visitor arrives

    • Transportation from airport closest to host farm
    • Transportation for exchange visitor to buy groceries, attend local educational events, etc.
    • Work boots
    • Housing, which includes:
      • Bed, chair, desk/table, chest, closet
      • Bedding, towels
      • Bedroom, bathroom, kitchen (can be shared)
      • Safe drinking water
      • Access to cleaning materials (vacuum, broom, etc.)
      • Access to washing machine and dryer
      • Access to necessary storm/safety areas
      • Access to a telephone
      • Smoke alarm, fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector

    See refund policies below


    • Host farm provides an hourly maintenance allowance to visitor. 
    • Hourly payments must follow state requirements.  
    • All exchange visitors must have at least one day per week completely off. 
    • Extra hours/overtime is NOT guaranteed, nor is it paid at a higher rate in agriculture. 

    During first 8 weeks: $7.25/hour; after 8 weeks, increase to $8/hour.  Increase after 8 weeks is based on learning gained by visitor.  If host is not satisfied, host must advise exchange visitor and Global Cow of specific concerns, and specific goals to achieve the increase.  

    TOTALS (based on 40 hours a week for 8 weeks at federal minimum wage and then 40 hours a week for 44 weeks at the increased amount): 

    First 8 weeks: $2,300

    Rest of program:  $14,080


      If applicant cancels after: 

      • Accepting host farm and requesting to be admitted into program, before DS2019 is issued:  $600 refund.
      • After DS 2019 form issuance: no refund of program fees, refund of $850 health insurance only.
      • After Embassy appointment:  no refund of program fees, refund of $850 health insurance only.
      • After arrival to the USA: no refund of program fees.
      • No refunds available if there is any impersonation or forgery.

      If visa is denied: $480 of program fees will be returned and $850 of health insurance, for a total of $1,330 AS LONG AS APPLICANT PROVIDES DENIAL LETTER FROM US EMBASSY WITHIN ONE WEEK OF VISA INTERVIEW & DECISION.  No fees shall be returned if applicant informs program of a visa denial AFTER the SEVIS START DATE.  Prompt applicant communication is expected at all times.



      Host fees are not refundable.  However, Global Cow will work with the farm to find a replacement as quickly as possible, and may reduce the fees for a subsequent exchange visitor placement.



      The training is specific for each exchange visitor and host farm training site.  It is not expected that exchange visitors will change host farms during their year on the program.  Transfer requests are considered on a case-by-case basis, and are NOT guaranteed to be approved.  There are additional documentation and application forms to be completed, and administrative fees of $1200 charged to the exchange visitor.  It also requires at least 30 days notice.  Again, it is not expected that exchange visitors will change host farms during their year.  At no time can an exchange visitor change farms without going through a complete change of farm procedure.