Dairy Grazing Apprenticeships Are Great for Beginning and Established Farmers

For centuries, skilled trades have used apprenticeships to train the next generation and ensure that everyone meets standards that are good for the trade and good for the customers being served. Now Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship is using this model to help new farmers entering the world of dairy production, and to support established farmers as they work with the next generation of producers. Here's how the program works: The apprenticeship consists of 4,000 hours of training over a period of two years. Of these hours, 3712 are paid employment and mentoring under an approved Master Dairy Grazier. A comprehensive DGA Training Manual (or "Job Book") lays out the competencies that must be met in order to own and operate a managed-grazing dairy farm, providing a blueprint for the mentoring process. The other 288 hours are related instruction to enhance on-farm training. The apprentice is responsible for about $1,000 in tuition which includes: • Courses in pasture management; milk quality; herd health; dairy nutrition; and soils, nutrients and composting, • Peer discussion groups, pasture walks, farming conferences and networking opportunities • Holistic Management and professional development training Each Master-Apprentice pair is assigned a local Education Coordinator, who monitors the mentoring relationship and provides educational support and on-farm technical services. Apprentices not only gain skills, knowledge, and experience but also develop relationship

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