Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship snowballing
The executive director of the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship says the program is starting to snowball.
Joe Tomandl tells Brownfield since starting in Wisconsin several years ago, accreditation from the U.S. Department of Labor helped the non-profit establish opportunities in nine states.
“We’ve got about 100 farmers approved to take on an apprentice or bring an employee through, and we’ve got about 175 candidates looking to get on a job as an apprentice on one of these dairies.”
The Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship addresses barriers to dairy farm entry by offering on-site employment and mentorship over a two-year period.
There are currently 35 aspiring producers going through the program and 15 that have finished.
“Of those 15, a majority of them are in dairy specifically in different levels. Either as a manager or in equity-earning scenarios. Or, some of them have already generated enough equity that they’ve moved on to a farm that they’re leasing.”
He says the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship provides financial consulting services to program participants and has successfully implemented equity building, farm start-up, and farm transfer models.
Brownfield interviewed Tomandl at the 2017 MOSES Organic Farming Conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Friday.