Millheim : The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) has been awarded a three-year, $390,000 grant to fund its dairy grazing apprenticeship program.
The apprenticeship combines two years of full-time, paid, on-the-job training, culminating in a federally accredited journey dairy grazier certification.
The program has grown from a small group of farmers in Wisconsin in 2010 to a network of more than 100 master grazier farms and more than 200 apprentice candidates, spanning 10 states.
PASA began working with the apprenticeship program in 2016 and so far has enrolled nine master graziers and three apprentices.
Over the next three years, PASA anticipates certifying seven journey dairy graziers while enrolling 15 apprentices on master grazier dairy farms.
The Pennsylvania Center for Dairy Excellence will help connect the dairy community with the program while also helping both masters and apprentices improve farm profitability and develop business plans through its consultant teams.
PASA will also work with the Pennsylvania Grazing Lands Coalition to develop educational events that support local grazing networks.
Finally, PASA will collaborate with scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Pastures Lab to develop a project for apprentices to work with computer models to guide management decisions and understand dairy agroecosystems
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