Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) is pleased to announce that Ashley Pierce has joined its core administrative staff as Project Manager. In this position Pierce will oversee new and current grant projects that expand educational services to historically underserved dairy producers, specifically those who are beginning, socially disadvantaged (including Spanish speakers), and veterans through the Apprenticeship program. She will also continue in her role as a DGA Education Coordinator for New York.
Pierce brings educational and professional experience that is both in-depth and wide ranging. Her undergraduate work centered on animal science, earning her an Associate’s Degree in Beef and Livestock Production and a Bachelor’s of Technology Degree in Dairy Management from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cobleskill and Morrisville. She is currently in a PhD program at Prescott College, studying sustainability education, with a research focus on regenerative agriculture and rural development, specifically the effects of agricultural consolidation on rural communities.
Professionally, she has worked for confinement as well as grazing dairy operations, including for Maple Hill Creamery as the Milkshed Supply and Service Manager, with the USDA Farm Service Agency, and as an Adjunct Professor in Animal Science at the SUNY Cobleskill. Prior to accepting her position with DGA, she was a Senior Resource Educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension. In addition, she is training to be a Certified Holistic Management International educator and practices the management system on her own farm, where she raises a small flock of commercial grass-fed sheep and pastured poultry.
“We’re all excited to have Ashley joining our core team as Project Manager,” says DGA Executive Director Joseph Tomandl, III. “She already knows DGA from her work as an Education Coordinator—and she has the exceptional logistical planning and communication skills needed to ensure successful project outcomes and to contribute to the growth of the organization.”
A native New Yorker who served a six-county region in the upper Hudson Valley, first with Extension and then with DGA, Pierce has become very passionate about dairy, regenerative agriculture, and grazing livestock. “I am thrilled to be a part of the DGA staff!” she says. “Having the opportunity to collaborate with such a committed and innovative team is inspiring and I cannot wait to help build on and expand on DGA’s important mission.”
Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) is a nonprofit organization with a National Apprenticeship registered with the U.S. Department of Labor. The two-year program combines 3700 hours of on-farm employment and training under an approved Mentor Dairy Grazier with 300 hours of related instruction, including classes delivered online through DGA's Managed Grazing Innovation Center. Graduates are certified Journey Dairy Graziers and may advance into management, equity earning, and farm transfer.
DGA has developed with support from several USDA initiatives that fund outreach and education for historically underserved beginning producers, such as The 2501 Program, AgVets, and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program, as well as private foundations and individuals. Find out more at https://www.dga-national.org/