Wisconsin apprenticeship program teaches dairy farmers

MADISON, Wis. - An agricultural apprenticeship program that began in Wisconsin in 2010 has spread to 10 states and is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship partners experienced farmers with beginners.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Census of Agriculture says more than half of today's farmers are over the age of 55. The mentorship program aims to encourage more young people to enter the industry as older farmers retire.

The program requires new farmers to complete a certain number of on-the-job training hours while checking off certain lessons in a workbook. The experienced farmers pay their students and salary and some also offer bonus incentives.

Joe Tomandl founded the program and says it's based on classic guild apprenticeships.

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