Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) is a National Apprenticeship under the U.S. Department of Labor-Employment and Training Administration that covers all aspects of owning and operating a managed-grazing dairy farm. The program consists of full-time paid training over a period of two years with opportunities for advancement upon completion. The comprehensive DGA Training Guidelines lays out the competencies that must be met in order to own and operate a managed-grazing dairy farm.

Major work categories are as follows:

  • Measure and manage pastures for optimal production
  • Manage dairy cattle in a grazing system
  • Manage milking operations
  • Manage dairy cattle nutritional requirements
  • Manage natural resources in a grazing system
  • Manage farm business operations to meet goals

To enhance on-farm training and provide networking opportunities, the program incorporates related instruction, including:

  • Courses in Pasture Management, Milk Quality, Herd Health, Dairy Nutrition, Natural Resources Management, and Farm Financial Management
  • Peer Discussion Groups, Pasture Walks, Farming Conferences, and Networking Opportunities
  • Holistic Management and Professional Development Training

Each Master-Apprentice pair is assigned a local Education Coordinator, who monitors the mentoring relationship and provides educational support and on-farm technical services. Apprentices not only gain skills, knowledge, and experience but also develop relationships with Apprentices and Masters in their cohort as well as with other dairy farmers, agricultural professionals, and service providers in the local community.

Apprentices graduate to certified Journey Dairy Grazier status, receive additional support services as they advance in their career, and have the option of eventually becoming Masters and taking on Apprentices themselves.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Must have high school diploma or higher or GED, or a composite score of at least 18, or comparable Accuplacer test scores in math and reading.
  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Must be physically able to perform the work of the trade with reasonable accommodations and without hazard to themselves or others.
  • Must have reliable transportation to and from work.

Please apply online through link provided or direct inquiries to DGA Education Coordinator in New York – Fay Benson at 607-391-2669 or 607-745-3807 afb3@cornell.edu

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