Innovative Beginning Farmer Training Programs / Incubators in the News, June 2013
Two innovative beginning farmer training programs / farm incubators were recently featured in the media. The first, a one-of-a-kind dairy grazing apprenticeship in Wisconsin, the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship. The second, the California Farm Academy (CFA) at the Center for Land Based Learning
Excerpt: The Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship is “the first legally recognized, fully accredited apprenticeship for farming in the U.S. … provides a “guided pathway” to independent farm ownership, or as an alternative, a management post on a grass-based dairy. Aspiring and/or current beginning graziers (i.e. Apprentices) are linked to veteran ‘Master’ graziers for on-farm training/employment, while Apprentices also go through formal classroom schooling … The program is “administered through the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (similar to development of Master plumbers, electricians or other skilled trades). A Journey Dairy Grazier is the credentialed equivalent of a technical school degree … DGA is comprised of 4,000 paid hours of on-farm training over two years (the equivalent of a full-time job).”
Excerpt: “The Center for Farm Based Learning runs several programs under its umbrella, including the California Farm Academy (CFA). Now in its second year, the Academy serves as a training program for beginning farmers and as a farm business incubator for the graduates … The Farm Academy runs 32 weeks from January through October. Students spend an average of ten hours per week at the CFA.”
The three components of the curriculum include classroom courses during the winter, farm visits and finally practical experience working in the fields.
Learn more about the multitude of beginning farmer training programs available in the United States here at beginningfarmers.org.