BFRDP Projects

Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship: A National Program for Training New Dairy Farmers
[Final Report]

Award Amount: $750,000
Grant Program: 2014 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Joseph Tomandl, III
Organization: Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

“Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship: A National Program for Training New Dairy Farmers” was a renewal Standard Grant building on work previously supported by USDA-NIFA’s Beginning Farmers and Rancher Development Program through a 2010 Development Grant “GrassWorks Apprenticeship Program: A Pilot Project for Training Beginning Farmers” and a 2011 Standard Grant “GrassWorks Apprenticeship Program: Career Paths for Beginning Farmers.” Accomplishments of this project include establishment of Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) as a national program under the United States Department of Labor-Office of Apprenticeship, strengthening of DGA in all states by developing a systematic approach to providing services to participants, and development of programming in Missouri, especially, but also with partner organizations covering the states of Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

Our target audience consisted of current dairy farmers seeking to transition out of farming or grow their operation by investing in the next generation and aspiring dairy farmers who are seeking a pathway to independent farm ownership. Among aspiring dairy farmers are young people, students, women, veterans, hired hands, herdsmen, farm managers, and farm workers. Barriers for aspiring dairy farmers include a lack of a) skills and experience in sustainable methods; b) opportunity to farm full-time, as dairy production requires, while learning; c) training in financial management and business planning; d) familiarity with agricultural infrastructure; and e) access to capital, land, and cattle.

The first formal Apprenticeship for farming in the nation, DGA directly addresses barriers to commodity-scale dairy farming by combining paid, work-based training on private dairy farms with related instruction and providing support for aspiring farmers to transition into independent dairy farm ownership. Over the course of this project, DGA provided a combine total of more than 79,000 hours of on-farm training and 5000 hours of related instruction to over 70 Apprentices.

Number of Participants: 188


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