News - - In Wisconsin, the census shows the state lost 8,700 farms in the last five years and the average age of a farmer is 57-years-old. To make sure farming remains a staple in our state, the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship was start in 2010 in Medford.

Program Director, Joe Tomandl says, "If we want to become a teacher, doctor, or layer there's a pathway. But if we want to become a dairy farmer, there really isn't. So we created a formalized apprenticeship registered with the WI Dept. of Workforce Development in dairy farming."

The objective is after two years, a person has the skills to help manage a dairy or transition into a dairy operation. Apprentices work on a farm under a guided workbook. Tomandl describes it as a paying job, "earning while learning."

So far, 7 people have completed the course and are now working in the dairy industry. Currently, there are 5 apprentices going through the course.

Ken Notes: This is a great program, we need to replicate it across the state and across multiple disciplines.

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- - Volume: 2 - WEEK: 34 Date: 8/19/2014 12:33:08 PM -