BFRDP Projects

Growing a Community of Sustainable, Grass-Based Dairy Farmers in the mid-Atlantic through Formal Apprenticeship
[Progress Report]

Award Amount: $391,596
Grant Program: 2017 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Franklin Egan
Organization: PASA


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

In this project, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) has built key partnerships to reinvigorate dairy farming in the mid-Atlantic region through formal apprenticeship in grass-based dairy and the promotion and education of sustainable grazing practices. Towards formal apprenticeship, experienced grass-based dairy farmers in the region have been recruited and certified as Master Graziers within the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA), the first formal, registered apprenticeship for farm management in the U.S. These Master Graziers have then been able to hire Apprentices within DGA, combining paid on-the-job training with technical coursework and related instruction. In supporting this related instruction for Apprentices, as well as the professional networks of Master Graziers, PASA has partnered with the Pennsylvania Grazing Lands Coalition (PAGLC) to develop educational events around the management of intensive rotational grazing practices, as well as the economics of such systems. Another partner for PASA on this project has been the Centre for Dairy Excellence (CDE), the leading non-profit dedicated to dairy in Pennsylvania. Working with CDE, PASA has developed an internship site for college-aged aspiring grazing dairy farmers, to provide a stepping stone program towards formal apprenticeship. PASA has also worked with Penn State Extension in providing beginning graziers, as well as Master Graziers, with finanicial consulting services. Finally, PASA has collaborated with scientists at the USDA-ARS Pastures Lab in using their Integrated Farming Systems computer model to help Masters and Apprentices, alike, understand the environmental and economic impacts of their operations. Currently, our project has enrolled 13 Master Graziers and 9 Apprentices in DGA in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, combined. We have also coordinated nine in-person educational events in the past year, and one webinar, serving a total of over 350 individuals. Finally, our financial work and computer modeling projects have served 11 beginning and Master Grazier farms, total.

Number of Participants: 389


Promotional Materials

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Educational Materials

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Reports & Evaluations

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Delivery Area

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Individual Stories / Examples of Success