Follow your passion in sustainable farming as a farm manager apprentice with a structured pathway at Center for Land-Based Learning!
Sustainable farming practices is critical to food security and in ensuring that we all are leaving behind a fertile enough land for future generations.
As part of our pro-active industry wide effort to promote and showcase green apprenticeships, we spoke to Brianne Grosskopf, Apprenticeship Outreach Coordinator at Center for Land-Based Learning in Woodland, CA.
Here is what Brianne had to say in her own words.
“While the pathway to get into some occupations can be straightforward, it may be tricky to determine how to develop required skills for others. For instance, how do you become a farm manager. The California Farm Academy’s response is a newly developed structured pathway for individuals to train for managerial roles on various types of farm operations. The California Farm Academy facilitates this pathway as a statewide registered apprenticeship, which is a program of the Center for Land-Based Learning (CLBL), an agricultural education non-profit in Woodland, CA.
Apprenticeship, as a way of training aspiring farmers, is not new to agriculture. However, having a registered and structured pathway is, and it means that graduates leave the program with a standardized education, proof of their specific training and on a path towards farm management.
Apprentices of the California Farm Academy complete a minimum of 3,000 hours of paid hands-on training in diverse areas such as soil and irrigation management, plant care, harvesting and grading products, and equipment repair. While working on the farm, they also complete free virtual coursework in ag production, leadership and management. All coursework is paid for by CLBL and curriculum partners.
With an online platform, apprentices can work on eligible farms anywhere in California. Participating farms range in industries from vegetables and orchards to vineyards and cut flowers and are located primarily across the Central Valley. CLBL is working to connect with more farmers around the state. Apprentices stay connected virtually through monthly cohort calls where they engage in peer-to-peer learning while working on developing essential managerial skills such as communication, team effectiveness, and conflict resolution. Upon graduating, apprentices receive a journey worker’s card for the occupation of a Beginning Farm Manager as well as college credit for any college level courses completed through their curriculum. Nationally, 91% of employees retain their job upon graduating from a registered apprenticeship and with a generation of farmers and farm managers retiring alongside a shortage in skilled labor for the agriculture industry, the outlook for farm managers is growing. With agriculture being an essential field, farm managers also have high job security and typically make one of the highest salaries on the farm.
While many applicants come to the program seeking employment on a farm, several have also come as a current employee of a farm. Although previous agricultural experience is recommended, it is not required and strong applicants typically come to the program with a passion for agriculture and transferable skills that will help them be successful in the fields from the start. This can look like outdoor experience in another field, customer service, work experience in construction, plumbing or mechanical work, Spanish language ability, and more.”
We are happy to share pictures of two recent apprentices at CLBL.
Photo 1: Apprentice Alora Perrin with Farmer Mentor Lisa Hass at HvH Specialty Growers, April 2021
For more details about the California Farm Academy Apprenticeship Program and to apply visit Landbasedlearning.org/farm-academy-apprentice