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MADISON, Wis. — New and prospective farm workers, as well as experienced farmers looking to expand their skills, all benefit from the online courses offered by the Managed Grazing Innovation Center, a program of Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship. Courses are offered in three sessions each year. Spring registration opens Jan. 2, 2024, and the semester starts Jan. 15.
MGIC offers individual courses, available in English and Spanish, with topics designed for working farms. Each course provides up-to-date, practical farm instruction. Courses are taught by subject matter experts including:
- Milk Quality – Paola Bacigalupo, DVM
- Farm Business Management – Samantha Gehrett, MS
- Dairy Cattle Health and Wellness – Jessica Duran, DVM
- Dairy Cattle Nutrition, Feeds, and Feeding –Jessica Duran, DVM
- Soil and Water Resource Management – Amanda Shine, MS
- Managed Grazing Systems for Dairy Cattle – Ashley Hughes, former mentor
- Holistic Farming and Systems Approach – Linda Pechin-Long, HMI-certified
Many farms have new hires take the free Stockmanship class, which is available in Spanish or English. This course trains employees on animal welfare responsibilities. Anyone can create an account and take the 30-minute course at no cost. “We see more and more farm business managers using this course to ensure they comply with the Dairy Industry regulations, “ says MGIC Director, Jessica Duran. “This gives the new hires a great start, and is good for the farm and the animals.”
Some farms invest in further training for new hires or an existing farmhand to take more courses, choosing from among the online options MGIC offers or creating customized modules. MGIC course offerings can be tailored to meet the training needs of specific farms, and the MGIC learning management system tracks training progress for each employee.
Students who complete a series of six courses and work 3700 hours on an approved farm can earn a Managed Grazing Dairy Certificate. This certificate is an attractive hiring credential recognized by the Department of Labor. As of summer 2023, 62 students have completed the program.
The course material for the certificate program is offered on-demand to suit all schedules, and paired with a one-hour live discussion once per week. Registration opens three times per year for spring, summer, and fall sessions. To register, or for more information, see dga-national.org/mgic or contact MGIC Director, Jessica Duran, firstname.lastname@example.org .
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