Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) is an independent non-profit organization and a National Apprenticeship under the US Department of Labor-Employment and Training Administration. It was created in 2010 with funding from the USDA-NIFA's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.
Since 2002, the Cornell Small Farms Program (CSFP) has been a visionary leader in fostering programs that support and encourage the sustainability of diverse, thriving small farms that contribute to food security, healthy rural communities, and the environment. The Program is housed within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) on the Cornell University Campus in Ithaca, NY. Program staff work collaboratively with a network of CALS faculty and staff, Cornell Cooperative Extension educators and other small farm advocates throughout New York to generate innovative research and extension initiatives that enhance small farm viability. The DGA allows The Small Farms Program to expand its new farmer training efforts to include new dairy producers under its flagship program, the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project. By adopting Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship as one of its projects, the Cornell Small Farms Program will play a significant role in expanding the program in New York State.
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a grassroots nonprofit organization founded in 1979. OEFFA uses education, advocacy, and certification to ensure prosperity for sustainable and organic farmers, connect communities with local food, and protect our natural resources. Founded in 1979, OEFFA is a grassroots coalition of farmers, backyard gardeners, retailers, educators, researchers, and others who share a desire to build a healthy food system that brings prosperity to family farmers, meets the growing demand for local food, creates economic opportunities for our communities, and safeguards the environment. Long before “organic” and “local” became part of our food vocabulary, OEFFA has used education, advocacy, and grassroots organizing to promote local and organic food systems.
Since 1992, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) has worked to promote profitable farms that produce healthy food for all people while protecting the natural environment. Through the SOIL Institute , PASA is advancing agricultural education in Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic region with programs in Farmer Training and Development, Farm-Based Research, and Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange. Pennsylvania has a demonstrable need for the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, and growing the DGA program in Pennsylvania and parts of neighboring states will be a cornerstone of the Farmer Training and Development activities at the SOIL Institute.
The Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota is a grassroots membership organization dedicated to sustainable production of our food and fiber that works to restore soil health and protect our air, land and water. Founded as a farmer network in 1989, SFA also promotes the production and distribution of safe, healthy, nutritious food, supporting consumers, family farmers and the communities dependent upon them. From urban farmers to rural grain and livestock producers, SFA promotes soil health and sustainable techniques that boost farmer profitability and local food availability. Growing the DGA program in Minnesota aligns perfectly with SFA's mission and we are proud to build this partnership.
The University of Missouri Pasture-Based Dairy Program had its beginning in the 1990's. The program grew out of the need and desire on the part of Missouri dairy producers to develop a more sustainable system of milk production. In response to this need, the Missouri Pasture-Based Dairy Team developed educational programs and models to assist dairy producers in developing farming systems that were profitable, environmentally friendly, socially acceptable, and that provided a desirable quality of life. The Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program is a natural next step toward training future generations of Missouri dairy producers and sustaining the state's dairy industry. University of Missouri Extension sees the alliance with DGA to be of mutual benefit to both organizations as well as Missouri's dairy community.
The University of Vermont Center for Sustainable Agriculture is based in the belief that deep understanding and connections inspire farmers and communities to create better environments and quality of life. Housed within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and UVM Extension, the Center was established in 1994. Center staff and faculty build trust and relationships, reexamine perceptions, ask questions, address access and equity, and lead by sharing knowledge learned in the process. The Center’s Pasture Program has long been a voice for the benefits of grass-based livestock farming, and we are excited to leverage existing partners to establish a strong foundation for new dairy farmer creation and transition through Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship. Focused on solutions to complex challenges, we are pleased and honored to help grow the program in the Northeast.
The Kellogg Farm, embedded within the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) in Southwest Michigan, was founded in 1928 and is Michigan State University’s largest off campus research farm. W.K. Kellogg deeded the Farm to Michigan State College, now Michigan State University, with the intention that the College would “… operate this farm under a most modern system of farm management so that it may serve as an object lesson to the people of the region in which it is located.” To fulfill this mission, the Kellogg Farm has been working on innovative approaches to integrate robotic milking and rotational grazing (Pasture Dairy Center) since 2009 and works closely with regional farmers to help implement these management tools effectively. Partnering with DGA provides a unique opportunity to take this mission to the next stage, providing detailed training opportunities for a new generation of grazing dairy farmers in Michigan. Furthermore, Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) will be a key partner in recruiting and supporting military veterans within DGA.
A pioneer in sustainable agriculture since the 1960's, Wolfe's Neck Farm is a nonprofit educational farm dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture, farm-based education and outdoor recreation while preserving 626 oceanfront acres of farmland, forest and historic buildings. Its new Organic Dairy Farmer Training Program incorporates DGA National Apprenticeship curriculum to provide a hands-on, residential training to allow Apprentices to learn all aspects of operation and management, preparing them to run their own organic dairy farm. Apprentices are provided with expert support in training, business planning, securing financing, locating land, and continued guidance through the first few years of independent production.