MEDFORD, December 4, 2018
Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) is proud to announce receipt of a $954,000 USDA grant to create dairy farming career path for military veterans through participation in the Apprenticeship. DGA is the first in the nation federally registered formal Apprenticeship in agriculture, providing an immersive learning experience comprised of two years of paid, on-the-job training on private dairy farms, and related classroom instruction.
Currently operating in 11 states, DGA has a network of over 150 participating farms (“Masters”) approved to conduct training. “DGA’s farmer-trainers are businessmen looking for skilled employees to help grow their businesses or perhaps purchase their farms when they want to retire,” said Joe Tomandl III, DGA’s Executive Director. “They seek Apprentices with a broad range of skills that military service provides: analytical thinking, common sense, discipline, and commitment.”
The grant funding will allow DGA to hire a Veteran Liaison who will recruit veterans for the program as well as provide support to veteran Apprentices and the Masters who hire them. “Veterans participating in DGA are eligible for GI-Bill benefits,” said Laura Paine, DGA Program Director. “As part of this three-year project, they will also receive financial, logistical, and peer support as they progress through the program.” DGA also plans to expand availability of the program to two to four additional states.
Funding for the project is provided by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Competitive Grants Program (AgVets)
DGA was among six awardees nationwide.