BFRDP Projects

Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship: Building Capacity, Curriculum, and Partnerships for Nationwide Work-Based Training of Beginning Dairy Farmers
[Final Report]

Award Amount: $596,625
Grant Program: 2017 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Joseph Tomandl
Organization: Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
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Project Overview

Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) is National Apprenticeship under the U.S. Department of Labor. The first formal Apprenticeship for farming in the nation, the two-year 4000 hour program combines paid on-farm training with related instruction to facilitate the transfer of knowledge, skills, and farms to the next generation. This BFRDP-EET project aims to establish DGA as a standard career pathway for economically and environmentally sustainable commodity-scale dairy producers. 

Originating in Wisconsin in 2010, DGA has steadily expanded in response to significant interest from dairy farmers, as well as universities and community based organizations. The project allows DGA and its partners to strengthen the program and improve capacity to deliver high quality comprehensive work-based training by meeting the following objectives:
1) Providing training and support to DGA Masters (train the trainer) to improve Apprentice learning experience. 2) Provide continuing training and resources to DGA graduates to facilitate their transition to farm ownership. 3) Develop and receive accreditation for DGA's own related instruction curriculum that is more fully integrated with the experiential learning aspects of the Apprenticeship, ensuring consistent quality and access nationwide.
Other collaborators: Cornell University Extension, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Maine, University of Maine Extension, University of Vermont Extension, Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota.
Federal funds allocated to NGO/CBO/SAEOs:  85%.
Budget toward veterans and underserved audiences: Among current 33 DGA Apprentices: seven female (21%), two veterans (6%), and twelve farm workers (36%). 
Previous BFRDP projects for PD Joseph Tomandl, III: 2010 Development Grant #2010-49400-21902, 2011 Standard Grant # 2011-49400-30540; 2014 Standard Grant # 2015-70017-22879

Number of Participants: 470


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