Formal Apprenticeship for Beginning Dairy Farmers


Workshop audio recording from the 2016 MOSES Organic Farming Conference.


Joe Tomandl III
Saturday 2b

Farming is a profession—it’s time for professional training. The Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) is an innovative program combining on-farm training with related coursework. DGA provides post-graduation support services and has developed models of equity earning, milk-share partnership, farm start-up, and farm transfer. DGA could open the doors to a new generation of sustainable producers.

Joe Tomandl III is the executive director of the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship and is committed to the success of startup dairy farmers. He and his wife, Christy, purchased their original 35 cows and 80-acre farm in 1998. They now have 170 milking cows and young stock on 320 acres of pasture. In 2010, they added a second 200-acre 170-cow farm, which is operated by a graduate of the apprenticeship program.