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Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Receives Grant to Recruit, Support Veterans

The Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program has received a $954,000 USDA grant to create dairy farming career opportunities 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 in its Masters program 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 DGA's Director Joe Tomandl. "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.


DGA Program Director Laura Paine adds that as part of this three-year project, the veterans will also receive financial, logistical, and peer support as they progress through the program.