BFRDP Projects

Growing a Community of Sustainable, Grass-Based Dairy Farmers in the mid-Atlantic through Formal Apprenticeship
[Final 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) 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, 18 experienced grass-based dairy farmers in the region were 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 then hired 18 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 partnered with the Pennsylvania Grazing Lands Coalition (PAGLC) to develop over 30 in-person and virtual educational events around the management of intensive rotational grazing practices, as well as the economics of such systems, serving hundreds of beginning and experienced farmers directly. Another partner for PASA on this project was the Center for Dairy Excellence (CDE), the leading non-profit dedicated to dairy in Pennsylvania. PASA partnered with CDE and their dairy intern program by including three grazing dairies in the program to provide a stepping stone program towards formal apprenticeship for beginning farmers. PASA also worked with CDE and Penn State Extension in providing six beginning graziers, as well as four experienced dairy graziers, with financial consulting services, ultimately launching multiple new farm businesses. Finally, PASA 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.

Number of Participants: 1234


Promotional Materials

There are no promotional materials available for this project.

Educational Materials

There are no educational materials available for this project.

Reports & Evaluations

There are no reports or evaluations available for this project.

Delivery Area

Describe any unexpected results of the project:

How would you improve the project if you were to do it again?

What were the keys to success for your participants?

Individual Stories / Examples of Success