Farm and Ranch Management Apprenticeship Program
According to the USDA the average age of the American Farmer is 57.5 years old, up another 1.2 years of age from 2012. This aging trend continues due to barriers of entry for aspiring young farmers like access to capital and proper training.
The Center for Land Based Learning hopes to help solve through a new apprenticeship program for beginning farm and ranch managers. Elaine Swiedler is the organization’s Apprenticeship Coordinator. She recently spoke with California Ag Today’s Patrick Cavanaugh.
Swiedler…”People coming from a lot of different industries have a lot of skills that they can bring to a farm. One of our apprentices right now didn't have any ag experience, but he did have experience working with heavy machinery. So he's been able to become like the "go-to" tractor guy at the farm that he's at. But another option is an existing employee at a farm can go through our program to get more training and support to achieve one of the management roles and kind of work their way up. Someone who's just graduating right now, the vineyard that he's been working for, I think like 20 years, they are going to need a labor manager when their current one retires in the next couple of years. So he has been going through our program to get some of those managerial experiences. He didn't go to school to learn ag. This is like the first time he said classes outside of the regular kind of safety training and things like that that an employee would take. And that's been really cool to see.”
For more information about finding or becoming an apprentice visit their website at www.landbasedlearning.org.