Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) launched a new online platform designed to showcase Master farms and attract more qualified candidates to the Apprenticeship opportunities. DGA is a nonprofit organization with a federally recognized National Apprenticeship in managed-grazing dairy production.
A “Featured Farms” section on the DGA website now offers visitors and potential Apprentices a view of farms approved as training sites. Linked job openings, which appear on a new public “Job Board,” provide a description of the position, qualification requirements, and compensation available for an Apprentice.
“DGA partners with grazing dairies of all sizes with a wide variety of business models as Apprenticeship employers,” says Executive Director Joseph Tomandl, III. “As the program grows and expands, we find that diversity in the dairy industry is a strength that needs to be accommodated and perpetuated.”
DGA’s 175 approved training farms come in all shapes and sizes, certified organic or conventional, seasonal or year round, with or without on-farm processing. The Masters themselves bring diverse motivations for their involvement.
As Program Director Laura Paine notes, “We have Masters on large grazing dairies who want to develop managers and potential business partners, as well as Masters with 40 cows seeking to share their knowledge and help new people get started or transfer their farm.”
Tomandl encourages all Masters to post their open positions on the new online platform to attract the broadest array of candidates. He said, “The Apprenticeship is open to individuals at all levels of experience, from novice to advanced herdsperson. The program is designed to help both Masters and Apprentices meet their career goals.”
As DGA expands, the pool of training farms begins to represent an even wider variety of topography, soil types, climate conditions, and market opportunities.
Initiated in Wisconsin in 2010, DGA has brought on partners in the Northeast, Great Lakes Region, and Midwest to administer the program and deliver services to participants in Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.
The DGA curriculum, registered with the U.S. Department of Labor-Office of Apprenticeship, provides a first-in-the-nation standardized educational system for dairy farming, but is flexible enough for specialized training on different farm operations. The adaptability is intentional and creates an inclusive, dynamic educational community for Masters as well as Apprentices.
A sample of this diversity is showcased on the DGA website. To find out more information about the Apprenticeship, view DGA’s Featured Farms and Job Board, and apply to become an Apprentice or a Master visit: https://www.dga-national.org/